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Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement Varies Widely

By November 22, 2012

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More than 600,000 knee replacements were performed in 2009 in the U.S. to treat knee osteoarthritis. Patients facing knee replacement surgery typically have questions about post-op rehab. They want to wrap their mind around what to expect, how long they will need to have physical therapy, and how long it will be before they achieve their functional goals.

Interestingly, according to a report presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, study results revealed that there is wide variability in physical therapy for knee replacement patients after surgery. There is a difference in the amount of physical therapy received, the number of days spent in physical therapy, and the type of physical therapy patients receive.

The variability of physical therapy also highlighted the fact that many knee replacement patients are actually discharged from physical therapy before they achieve functional goals -- sometimes well below their pre-op levels. There seems to be some issue that is interfering with standardizing post-op rehab. Therapists, surgeons, and patients need to have the same expectations.

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