Background. Investigating modifiable factors that contribute to functional limitations in patients with total knee arthroplasty (TKA) may guide changes in rehabilitation protocols and improve functional outcomes. Whereas quadriceps muscle weakness has been demonstrated to contribute to functional limitations in TKA, the role of hip abductor weakness has not received attention. Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine whether hip abductor strength (force-generating capacity) contributes to physical function beyond what can be explained by quadriceps muscle strength in patients after a TKA. Design. A cross-sectional design was used in the study. Setting. The study was conducted in a clinical laboratory at an academic center. Patients. Thirty-one people with TKA (74% female; mean age=68 years, SD=8; mean body mass index=31 kg/m 2, SD=5) participated in the study. Measurements. Strength of quadriceps muscles and hip abductors was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer. Performance-based physical function was assessed with 4 measures: self-selected walking speed, the Figure-of-8 Walk Test, the Stair Ascend/Descend Test, and the 5-Chair Rise Test. Self-reported physical function was assessed with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index Physical Function Subscale. Results. In hierarchical regression models, after accounting for demographic and anthropometric factors, quadriceps muscle strength was associated with performance on the Stair Ascend/Descend Test. After accounting for demographic, anthropometric, and quadriceps strength, hip abductor strength was associated with performance on the Stair Ascend/Descend Test, the Figure-of-8 Walk Test, and the 5-Chair Rise Test. Limitations. The study design precluded ascertainment of causal relationships. Conclusions. After TKA, hip abductor strength influenced physical function in participants more than did demographic or anthropometric measures or quadriceps strength. Longitudinal studies with larger samples are warranted. If findings are replicated, they will justify targeting the hip abductors during rehabilitation after TKA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation