Medical opinion on whether or not to provide physiotherapy after a knee replacement patient has been discharged from hospital is divided, but a new study suggests it may have short-term benefits.
Many people undergo knee replacement surgery to treat osteoarthritis (OA), in which the cartilage in the joint becomes damaged and thin, prompting the bone underneath to become thicker and leading to inflammation.
Researchers from Nottingham and Birmingham universities and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Oxford reviewed the evidence relating to physiotherapy, including data on 614 knee replacement patients from six separate trials.
They found that physiotherapy had a small to moderate effect on joint motion and quality of life at three to four months after knee replacement surgery, but that the effect was not sustained at the end of 12 months.
Writing on the British Medical Journal website, they concluded: "It seems reasonable to refer patients for a short course of physiotherapy after discharge to provide short term benefit."
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