BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders BMC series 2017 18:75

The relationship between pain with walking and self-rated health 12 months following total knee arthroplasty: a longitudinal study

Maren Falch Lindberg, Tone Rustøen, Christine Miaskowski, Leiv Arne Rosseland & Anners Lerdal


A subgroup of patients continue to report pain with walking 12 months after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The association between walking pain and self-rated health (SRH) after TKA is not known. This prospective longitudinal study aimed to investigate the association between a comprehensive list of preoperative factors, postoperative pain with walking, and SRH 12 months after TKA.


Patients (N = 156) scheduled for TKA completed questionnaires that evaluated demographic and clinical characteristics, symptoms, psychological factors, and SRH. SRH was re-assessed 12 months after TKA. Clinical variables were retrieved from medical records. Pain with walking was assessed before surgery, at 6 weeks, 3, and 12 months after TKA. Subgroups with distinct trajectories of pain with walking over time were identified using growth mixture modeling. Multiple linear regression was used to investigate the relationships between pain with walking and other factors on SRH.


Higher body mass index, a higher number of painful sites at 12 months, recurrent pain with walking group membership, ketamine use, higher depression scores, and poorer preoperative self-rated health were associated with poorer SRH 12 months after TKA. The final model was statistically significant (p = 0.005) and explained 56.1% of the variance in SRH 12 months after surgery. SRH improved significantly over time. Higher C-reactive protein levels, higher number of painful sites before surgery, higher fatigue severity, and more illness concern was associated with poorer preoperative SRH.


In patients whose walking ability decreases over time, clinicians need to assess for unreleaved pain and decreases in SRH. Additional research is needed on interventions to improve walking ability and SRH.

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