After Arthroplasty, Physical Therapy is Important but Underused
Even if a patient undergoes a perfect knee arthroplasty, also known as a total knee replacement, it does not guarantee improved mobility for that patient. What happens after the surgery can be of high importance to the improvement of a patient’s overall condition. A review in Arthiritis Care & Research points to how evidence-based physical therapy (PT) interventions following arthroplasty are often underused and inadequate.¹ In addition to that, records of physical therapy are often the result of self-reporting, which can be unreliable.
In her interview with Healio Rheumatology, Carol A. Oatis, PT, PhD, said, “Little is known about the details of physical therapy patients receive after surgery. At the same time, reimbursement models incentivize the reduction of post-surgical PT.” Oatis and her colleagues analyzed records for 112 patients from 30 different physical therapy sites. The study showed open-chain exercises (non-weight bearing) to be utilized more frequently than closed-chain exercises (weight-bearing). The study also found that shorter timed stair climb exercises correlate to more PT interventions along with the use and progression of closed chain exercises.
Dr. Oatis concludes, “While further study is required, our study suggests that the details of what patients do in post-replacement PT matter. Not all PT is the same. Patients and providers must look to ensure that post-replacement rehabilitation consists of those factors that are most associated with positive functional outcomes.”
Oatis’ recognition of the need for more study around physical therapy following knee replacements is an important one. The reliance on self-reporting and lack of consistency around post-replacement physical therapy combined. Even when PT measures are put in place, patients do not always comply, particularly during at-home recovery.
TracPatch is a surface sensor technology that gives healthcare providers insights into post replacement physical therapy efforts. By tracking the patient’s activity, measuring range of motion and keeping track of exercises, providers observe a patient’s real-time post-op recovery activity. Early detection of potential problems combined with early intervention using TracPatch results in reduced complications and better patient outcomes.
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- “Physical Therapies Underused Following Total Knee Replacement.” Healio, October 15, 2018. https://www.healio.com/news/rheumatology/20181012/physical-therapies-underused-following-total-knee-replacement.