Knee replacement in elderly patients shown to improve balance

Mar 11, 2010

Total knee replacement (TKR) successfully relieves pain and improves function in patients with advanced knee arthritis, according to a study presented today at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The surgery also significantly improves dynamic balance among elderly patients.

Impaired balance and increased tendency to fall are common complaints among the elderly suffering from severe osteoarthritis (worn cartilage). The purpose of the study was to determine whether TKR had any effects on balance measures, in correlation with functional balance and quality of life. This is especially important because falls are the leading cause of injury for senior adults in the U.S., and hip fractures that result from falls can be lethal for elderly patients.

"Balance is critical to the elderly, especially those with knee problems. This study reinforced our hypothesis about how an osteoarthritic patient's function is compromised not only due to pain, but also by balance," said Leonid Kandel, MD, study author and orthopaedic surgeon, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.

The study examined 63 patients, with a mean age of 73, who had total knee replacements and participated in follow-up evaluations after one year. The study measured accurately static and dynamic balance with a new computerized system called the Balance Master. The study found:

  • Significant improvement in dynamic balance one year after surgery;
  • Significant progress in balance-determined motor tests; and
  • Strong statistical correlation between the balance and the Oxford Knee Score functional questionnaire and the quality of life questionnaire SF-36.
One year after surgery, the correlation between patients' improved balance and their ability to walk and perform daily activities was stronger than the correlation between their reduced pain and their ability to walk and do daily activities.

"We are learning that pain relief may not be the only benefit that improves function after ," explained Dr. Kandel. "This improved balance is a significant quality-of-life change in elderly patients."

Explore further: Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

No justification for denying obese patients knee replacements

Jul 24, 2008

There is no justification for denying obese patients knee replacement surgery: They benefit almost as much as anyone else from the procedure, concludes a small study published ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Di ...

Exercise in elderly proven to improve quality of life

Jul 05, 2007

A new study appearing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society compares the efficacy of three programs designed for reducing falls and improving quality-of-life among the elderly; education, home safety assessment and mo ...

Poses can prevent falls

Apr 04, 2008

A specific type of yoga can help improve stability and balance in women over age 65, which could help to prevent falls, finds a preliminary study out of Temple University’s Gait Study Center.

Recommended for you

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

13 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.