The Influence of Gait Pattern with Aids on the Patient’s Recovery in an Early Period of Total Knee Replacement

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Introduction: The total knee replacement is the definitive treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA). It is an effective intervention to correct OA-related functional limitation. In such patients postoperatively are observed significant differences in the biomechanics of the two knee joints. While bearing the body weight the unoperated knee joint becomes very painful, stiff and incapable of neutral positioning. These factors significantly hamper the initial training in gait with aids in the standard locomotive stereotype immediately after surgery for knee joint replacement, where walking plays an essential role in daily activities and has varied health benefits.

Aim: The aim of the study was to check whether different types of gait with aids in the early postoperative period after total knee replacement have a different influence on the recovery process.

Material and methods: This study was conducted between January 2017 and July 2018 in the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the University Hospital “Kanev” – Rousse. It included 56 patients with unilateral total knee replacement after gonarthrosis, divided into a control and experimental group, each of 28 patients. All patients in both groups had knee extension deficit of the untreated knee joint. The patients in both groups followed the same physiotherapy programs, performed from about the 2nd postoperative day to the 21st day when they were discharged from the department. The difference between the patients in both subgroups was their gait pattern with two axillary crutches.

Results and Discussion: There were statistically significant differences between both groups. One of the most significant differences was in ROM. In the experimental group patients, flexion was improved with an average of 20° more than in the control group patients. Also, in the operated joint, the patients in the experimental group had no contracture, whereas those in the control group showed 15° at the end of the follow-up period.

Conclusion: The results of the study show that the choice of gait training in the following order “crutches, operated leg, crutches, untreated leg” in patients with extensor deficiency and contracture in the untreated knee is more appropriate than the standard type of training in walking with aids.

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