Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Physical Therapy Prior To Total Knee Replacement Improves Post Operative Recovery

September 25, 2022

Knee osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease world wide and one of the leading causes of disability. Thankfully this condition is successfully managed conservatively utilizing Physical Therapy interventions including manual therapy and exercise. Previous research has shown these Physical Therapy interventions can postpone or prevent the knee for knee replacement. In some cases, conservative treatment is no longer effective at reducing disability in patients and surgical interventions including total joint replacement should be considered. Among our patients at our Boulder and Lafayette Physical Therapy practices the recovery from this procedure is most challenging in the first 6 weeks up to the 12th week post op. A recent review of the medical literature reports on how Physical Therapy prior to surgery can improve post operative outcomes and recovery.

Granicher and colleagues published the benefits of pre operative Physical Therapy on post operative outcomes in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (2022). Authors included 16 trials of close to 1000 participants in their review. Authors found the evidence favored the utilization of pre operative Physical Therapy for patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery. These effects were most significant in the first 12 weeks with patients who underwent pre operative Physical Therapy showing an accelerated recovery compared to their peers not receiving pre operative treatments. Conversely, no effects were found at long term follow up when the patients not receiving pre operative Physical Therapy reached the outcomes previously reached by the pre operative groups.

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