Characteristics of young and lower functioning patients following total knee arthroplasty: A retrospective study

Jesse C. Christensen, Andrew J. Kittelson, Brian J. Loyd, Michael A. Himawan, Charles A. Thigpen, Jennifer E. Stevens-Lapsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Rates of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures in younger, more medically complex patients have dramatically increased over the last several decades. No study has examined categorization of lower and higher functioning subgroups within the TKA patient population. Our study aimed to determine preoperative characteristics of younger patients who are lower functioning following TKA. Methods: Patients were categorized into higher and lower functioning subgroups defined using a median split of 1) postoperative Timed Up and Go (TUG) test times and 2) Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) physical function subscale scores. A split in age (65 years) was used to further classify patients into four categories: Younger lower functioning, younger higher functioning, older lower functioning and older higher functioning. Measures from preoperative domains of health, psychological, physical performance and pain severity were examined for between-group differences. Results: Comparing mean values, the younger lower functioning subgroup using the TUG had significantly weaker knee extensor, slower gait speed, higher body mass index and greater pain compared to other subgroups. The younger lower functioning subgroup using the WOMAC physical function subscale demonstrated higher pain levels and Coping Strategies Questionnaire-Catastrophizing Subscale scores compared to the older lower functioning subgroup. Conclusions: Poorer preoperative physical performance and pain severity appear to have the largest influence on early postoperative TKA recovery in younger lower functioning patients relative to both younger and older higher functioning patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number483
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 27 2019


  • Clinical outcomes
  • Physical performance
  • Self-report
  • Subgrouping
  • Total knee arthroplasty


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