Despite improvement in pain and perceived function in older adults following total knee arthroplasty (TKA), objective outcome measures of muscular impairment and ambulatory function demonstrate significant deficits. Evidence suggests that quadriceps power may play a greater role in ambulatory function than measures of strength alone following TKA. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of high-velocity (HV) quadriceps exercises with that of slow-velocity (SV) quadriceps exercises on functional outcomes and quadriceps power following TKA. This study was a randomized clinical study conducted in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. Twenty-one participants who were 4 to 6 weeks out from a unilateral TKA were randomly assigned to an HV or SV group. Participants performed an evidence-based standardized progressive resistance exercise program in addition to HV quadriceps exercises or SV quadriceps exercises. Participants attended 2 sessions per week for 8 weeks. Before and after the 8-week exercise intervention, participants completed a functional questionnaire, health survey, functional testing, and underwent quadriceps strength and power testing. Both groups demonstrated improvements in ambulatory outcome measures, strength, speed, and power. The HV group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in distance walked and quadriceps strength than the SV group.
HV quadriceps exercises may be an effective rehabilitation strategy in conjunction with a standardized progressive resistance exercise program beginning 4 to 6 weeks after TKA.