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The relationship between prescribed pre-operative knee-extensor exercise dosage and effect on knee-extensor strength prior to and following total knee arthroplasty: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis of randomized controlled trials

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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the relationship between prescribed knee-extensor strength exercise dosage in pre-operative exercise intervention and the effect on knee-extensor muscle strength prior to and following TKA. Additional meta-analyses report the effect of pre-habilitation on outcomes prior to and following TKA.

DESIGN: A systematic literature search was performed including RCT's evaluating the effect of pre-operative exercise prior to and following TKA. Meta-regression analysis was performed to evaluate the dose-response relationship between prescribed exercise dose and the pooled effect, measured as standardized mean difference (SMD). The prescribed exercise dose was quantified using a formula accounting for as many exercise descriptors as possible. Risk of bias in the included trials was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool.

RESULTS: Twelve trials with 616 patients were included. Meta-regression analysis showed no relationship between prescribed pre-operative knee-extensor exercise dosage and change in knee-extensor strength neither prior to (slope 0.0005 [95%CI -0.007 to 0.008]) or 3 months following TKA (slope 0.0014 [95%CI -0.006 to 0.009]). Prior to TKA, a moderate effect favoring pre-operative exercise for increase in knee-extensor strength was found (SMD 0.50 [95%CI 0.12 to 0.88]), but not at 3 months following TKA (SMD -0.01 [95%CI -0.45 to 0.43]). Risk of bias was generally assessed as unclear.

CONCLUSION: Meta-regression analysis of existing trials suggests no relationship between the prescribed pre-operative knee-extensor exercise dosage and the change in knee-extensor strength observed prior to and following TKA. Pre-operative exercise including knee-extensor muscle strength exercise increased knee-extensor strength moderately prior to but not 3 months following TKA.


Original languageEnglish
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1412-1426
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • Dose-response, Exercise therapy, Knee osteoarthritis, Knee-extensor muscle strength, Total knee arthroplasty

ID: 60791280