Can Patients Return to Sports After Unicompartmental Knee Replacement?In this study, patients who had a unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) were surveyed about their sports and recreational activities. UKA refers to the replacement of just one side of the knee joint. The implant is needed because an uneven wear pattern is causing altered biomechanics and pain.
All patients received a mailed questionnaire 12 to 28 months after their surgery. The survey asked questions about 20 different sports and recreational activities. Frequency, duration, and length of exercise session were assessed before and after surgery. Patients were also asked about pain, motion, and anxiety during sports participation.
The results showed that the majority of patients were involved in regular sports and recreational activities before surgery. The data also showed that older patients were more likely to remain active compared to younger patients.
Most of the patients reported an increased ability to engage in sports activities after UKA compared to before. Hiking, biking, and swimming were the favored activities. Patients were less likely to enjoy high-impact activities such as jogging, tennis, or outdoor sports, especially skiing.
Frequency of activity remained the same before and after surgery. If anything, patients decreased the length of time spent exercising per session. The difference was only about 10 minutes. The overall return to sports rate was 94.8 per cent. Half of these patients were back to their normal activity level within three months' time. By the end of six months, two-thirds of the group resumed sports and recreational activities. The remaining one-third needed more time (six months) to return to sports.
This study showed that active adults who receive a UKA can and do return safely to sports and recreational activities. Overall satisfaction with the results was good. The surgery maintained or improved sports involvement.
The authors suggest future studies are needed to focus on finding an acceptable level of activity after UKA. Finding ways to remain active without increasing the risk of implant wear and loosening is important for these active patients.
Florian D. Naal, MD, etal. Return toSports and Recreational Activity After Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. October 2007. Vol. 35. No. 10. Pp. 1688-1695.
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