Send to

Choose Destination
Orthopedics. 2009 Apr;32(4). pii:

The influence of pain on knee motion in patients with osteoarthritis undergoing total knee arthroplasty.

Author information

Orthopedic Outcomes Assessment Unit, Musgrave Park Hospital, Stockman's Ln, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9 7JB.


Pain is the predominant symptom of degenerative knee arthritis and the main reason patients undergo total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Variation in patient response to pain has proved difficult to quantify. The effect of removing pain by testing TKA patients' range of motion (ROM) before and after the administration of anesthesia has not previously been analyzed. This study objectively quantifies the effect of eliminating pain on knee joint ROM for a typical group of TKA patients with osteoarthritis. We prospectively recruited 141 patients with osteoarthritis admitted for TKA to assess the inhibitory effect of pain on ROM. Passive maximum flexion, extension, and ROM were measured preoperatively before and after administration of anesthesia (spinal anesthetic followed by femoral and sciatic regional nerve blocks). Following pain abolition, passive maximum flexion increased by an average of 13.4 degrees (SD=11.9 degrees), passive maximum extension improved by an average of 3.0 degrees (SD=4.2 degrees), and passive ROM increased by an average of 16.4 degrees (SD=13.1 degrees). The change in each parameter was statistically significant (P<.0001). Improvements in flexion (P=.01) and ROM (P=.005) were significantly greater in women. Measurements taken before anesthesia reflect knee ROM that the patient will tolerate before pain becomes the limiting factor, while measurements taken after anesthesia is achieved suggest the knee ROM possible once pain is eliminated. Abolition of pain led to significant increases in knee flexion, extension, and ROM, suggesting that pain has a significant inhibitory effect on knee motion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center