The effect of COVID-19 restrictions on rehabilitation and functional outcome following total hip and knee arthroplasty during the first wave of the pandemic

Deborah J MacDonald*, Nick D Clement, Colin R Howie, Chloe E H Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS: The primary aim was to assess the patient-perceived effect of restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 on rehabilitation following total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Secondary aims were to assess perceived restrictions, influence on mental health, and functional outcome compared to patients undergoing surgery without restriction.

METHODS: During February and March 2020, 105 patients underwent THA (n = 48) or TKA (n = 57) and completed preoperative and six-month postoperative assessments. A cohort of 415 patients undergoing surgery in 2019 were used as the control. Patient demographic data, BMI, comorbidities, Oxford Hip Score (OHS) or Knee Score (OKS), and EuroQoL five-domain (EQ-5D) score were collected preoperatively and at six months postoperatively. At six months postoperatively, the 2020 patients were also asked to complete a questionnaire relating to the effect of the social restrictions on their outcome and their mental health.

RESULTS: Nearly half of the patients (47.6%, n = 50/105) felt that the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 had limited their rehabilitation and were associated with a significantly worse postoperative OKS (p < 0.001), EQ-5D score (p < 0.001), and lower satisfaction rate (p = 0.019). The reasons for the perceived limited rehabilitation were: being unable to exercise (n = 32, 64%), limited access to physiotherapy (n = 30, 60%), and no face-to-face follow-up (n = 30, 60%). A quarter (n = 26) felt that their mental health had deteriorated postoperatively; 17.1% (n = 18) felt depressed and 26.7% (n = 28) felt anxious. Joint-specific scores and satisfaction for the 2020 group were no different to the 2019 group, however patients undergoing THA in 2020 had a significantly worse postoperative EQ-5D compared to the 2019 cohort (difference 0.106; p = 0.001) which was not observed in patients undergoing TKA.

CONCLUSION: Half of the 2020 cohort felt that their rehabilitation had been limited and was associated with worse postoperative Oxford and EQ-5D scores, and lower rates of patient satisfaction, but relative to the 2019 cohort their overall outcomes were no different, with the exception of THA patients who had a worse general health score. Level of evidence: Prospective study, Level 2 Cite this article: Bone Jt Open 2021;2(6):380-387.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalBone & Joint Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2021


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