Does Preoperative Pain Catastrophizing Influence Objectively Measured Physical Activity Before and After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Prospective Cohort Study

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 Holstebro Regional Hospital
  • | 2 Aarhus University
  • | 3 Aarhus University Hospital
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Background: Pain catastrophizing is associated with pain both before and after a total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, it remains uncertain whether pain catastrophizing affects physical activity (PA). The aim was to examine the influence of pain catastrophizing on the PA profile, knee function, and muscle mass before and after a TKA. Methods: The authors included 58 patients with knee osteoarthritis scheduled for TKA. Twenty-nine patients had a score >22 on the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and 29 patients had a score <11. PA was measured with a triaxial accelerometer preoperative, 3 months, and 12 months after TKA. Other outcome measures consisted of the Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans. Results: The authors found no difference in PA between patients with a better/low or a worse/high score on the PCS, and none of the groups increased their mean number of steps/day from preoperative to 12 months postoperative. Patients with better/low PCS scores had higher/better preoperative scores on the Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscales (symptoms, pain, and activity of daily living), and they walked longer in the 6-min walk test. Further, they had lower body mass index, lower percent fat mass, and higher percent muscle mass than patients with worse/high PCS scores both before and after a TKA. Conclusion: Preoperative pain catastrophizing did not influence PA before or after a TKA. Although the patients improved substantially in self-reported knee function, their PA did not increase. This may be important to consider when the clinicians are informing the patients about the expected benefits from the operation.

Birch is with the Department of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, Holstebro Regional Hospital, Hospital Unit West, Holstebro, Denmark. Birch, Hansen, Stilling, and Mechlenburg are with the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. Hansen and Stilling are also with the University Clinic for Hand, Hip, and Knee Surgery, Holstebro Regional Hospital, Hospital Unit West, Holstebro, Denmark. Stilling and Mechlenburg are also with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark. Mechlenburg is also with the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Birch (sara.birch@vest.rm.dk) is corresponding author.
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