A Balance Exercise Program Appears to Improve Function for Patients With Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Randomized Clinical Trial

The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine the feasibility of applying a balance exercise program in patients with TKA, (2) to investigate whether a functional training (FT) program supplemented with a balance exercise program (FT+B program) could improve physical function compared with an FT program alone in a small group of individuals with TKA, and (3) to test the methods and calculate sample size for a future randomized trial with a larger study sample.  The participants were 43 individuals (30 female, 13 male; mean age=68 years, SD=8) who underwent TKA 2 to 6 months prior to the study.  The interventions were 6 weeks (12 sessions) of a supervised FT or FT+B program, followed by a 4-month home exercise program.  Feasibility measures included pain, stiffness, adherence, and attrition. The primary outcome measure was a battery of physical performance tests: self-selected gait speed, chair rise test, and single-leg stance time. Secondary outcome measures were the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index and the Lower Extremity Function Scale.

Feasibility of the balance training in people with TKA was supported by high exercise adherence, a relatively low dropout rate, and no adverse events. Both groups demonstrated clinically important improvements in lower-extremity functional status. The degree of improvement seemed higher for gait speed, single-leg stance time, and stiffness in the FT+B group compared with the FT group.

Piva, S. R., Gil, A. B., Almeida, G. J. M., DiGioia, A. M., Levison, T. J., Fitzgerald, G. K.. A Balance Exercise Program Appears to Improve Function for Patients With Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Physical Therapy, Apr 8, 2010, online article ahead of print

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