Should Runners Plan to Return to Running After Total Joint Arthroplasty?
For Immediate Release
November 7, 2020
Dallas – A presentation at the 30th AAHKS Annual Meeting reported on a study examining if patients who ran prior to total joint arthroplasty (TJA) were able to return to running. Prior to this study, there were no evidence-based recommendations for runners wishing to return to running after TJA.
The prospective, cohort, multi-site survey study of a patient database identified 4,492 primary total hip arthroplasty (THA), total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or partial knee arthroplasty (UKA) patients from June 2015 to June 2020. Patients were asked to complete an online survey responding to demographic questions, preoperative running experience, patient expectations and satisfaction, surgeon recommendations about returning to running, postoperative running, cross-training practices, personality scales, and reoperation rates. Follow-up ranged from 6 months to 10 years after surgery.
Lead author, Brielle J. Antonelli, BS, and co-authors, Rebecca Teng, BA, Rebecca G. Breslow, MD, Danielle Y. Ponzio, MD, Sarah Ulcoq, OTC, and Antonia F. Chen, MD, MBA, found that of the study group, 549 were runners prior to surgery. 10.7% of the pre-TJA runners did weekly muscle strength training, 98.3% ran for more than 2 years prior to surgery, and 46.5% ran for more than 20 years. When asked if they expected to return to running, 30.5% responded that they did, and 69.5% did not. Patient-reported surgeon recommendations were not standardized; surgeons mostly recommended not to return to running, or to mostly do low-impact activities.
Among the 549 preoperative runners, 11.8% returned to running within 2 to 12 months after surgery, with THA patients being significantly more likely to run postoperatively compared to TKA patients. Of postoperative runners, 67.2% were satisfied with their postoperative running and 30.8% reported pain. It was also reported that 1% of patients who were not runners prior to surgery started running after with 69.3% satisfied and 22.2% reported pain. Preoperative runners who returned to running after surgery had a higher revision rate (6.2%) than preoperative runners who did not run after surgery (4.8%). Additionally, preoperative runners who ran after surgery had higher personality scale scores compared to those who didn’t return to running, indicating stronger resilience and dependency on exercise.
The study suggests that “while almost 12% of runners prior to TJA were able to return to running within one year, further larger-scale studies are needed to guide surgeons to provide realistic recommendations for patients that wish to return to running after TJA.”
About the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
Established in 1991, the mission of AAHKS is to advance hip and knee patient care through education and advocacy. AAHKS has a membership of over 4,000 surgeons and other hip and knee health care professionals.