The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , S93 - S99.e3

Formal Physical Therapy May Not Be Necessary After Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Fillingham, Yale A. et al.


The purpose of this randomized clinical trial was to compare formal outpatient physical therapy (PT) and unsupervised home exercises after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA).


Fifty-two patients were randomized to 6 weeks of outpatient PT or an unsupervised home exercise program after UKA. The primary outcome was change in range of motion at 6 weeks with secondary outcomes including total arc of motion, Knee Society Score, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Jr, Lower Extremity Functional Scale, and Veterans Rands-12 score.


Twenty-five patients received outpatient PT, 22 patients the self-directed exercise program, while 3 patients deviated from the protocol, 1 patient withdrew, and 1 patient was lost to follow-up. There was no difference in the change of range of motion (P = .43) or total arc of motion at 6 weeks (P = .17) between the groups and likewise no significant differences were found in any of the secondary outcomes. Two patients who crossed over from the unsupervised home exercise program to formal outpatient PT within the first 2 weeks postoperatively required a manipulation under anesthesia.


Our results suggest self-directed exercises may be appropriate for most patients following UKA. However, there is a subset of patients who may benefit from formal PT.

Download article