This study investigates the effectiveness of preoperative high-intensity strength training (with a special emphasis on lower limb muscle strength and secondarily on balance training) on postural control after TKA.
Methods: Forty-four subjects (7 men, 37 women, and mean age 66.7 ± 3.9 years) scheduled for unilateral TKA for osteoarthritis (OA) participated in this randomized-controlled trial. Each patient performed two postural control tests: Romberg test with eyes open and closed. These tests were assessed at 8 weeks before surgery (T1), after 8 weeks of training (T2), 1 month after TKA (T3), and finally 3 months after TKA (T4). The intervention group completed an 8-week training program 3 days per week prior to surgery, while the control group received no intervention.
Results: The Center of Pressure area (COP) was lower (i.e., better score) for the intervention group at T2, T3, and T4. The anteroposterior range of COP with eyes open was lower in the intervention group at T2, T3, and T4 and with eyes closed at T2. The medial-lateral standard deviation of COP with eyes open was lower in the intervention group at T2 and T4 and with eyes closed at T2 and T3. The anteroposterior standard deviation of COP with eyes open did not change, while that with eyes closed the intervention group showed lower score at T2.
Conclusion: Preoperative high-intensity strength training is effective for improving postural control before and early after TKA. Recommendations should include preoperative strength training, and not only balance training, to speed-up recovery of postural control after TKA.