Pain and recovery of physical functioning nine months after total knee artroplasty
Kristi Elisabeth Heiberg, Vigdis Bruun-Olse, Anne Marit Mengshoel
Objective: To describe pain and recovery of physical functioning after total knee arthroplasty.
Design: A longitudinal design with assessments preoperatively, and 1 week, 3 and 9 months postoperatively.
Subjects: Sixty-three patients participated.
Methods: Pain was assessed by visual analogue scale. Physical functioning was measured by 40-metre timed walking, timed stair-climbing and goniometry. At 9 months the Short Form-36 pain and physical function scales were added to make comparisons with the general population.
Results: Pain score one week after surgery was 40 (standard deviation (SD) 23) vs 24 (SD 19) at 3 months (p < 0.001). At 9 months the pain score was 22 (SD 23) vs 49 (SD 18) preoperatively (p < 0.001). Knee extension did not differ from preoperative scores, but knee flexion reduced from 124 (SD 13) to 112 (SD 12) (p < 0.001). Forty-metre walking time improved from 37 (SD 13) to 34 (SD 11) s (p < 0.001), while the number of patients able to climb stairs was unchanged (p > 0.05). The patients’ Short-Form 36 pain score did not differ from the general population, while the physical function score was 60 (SD 24) vs 75 (SD 24) (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Early pain reduction was registered. At 9 months, pain was equal to that in the general population, but a considerable number of patients still had problems in performing strenuous activities.