Two new studies found that exercise may be a factor in recovering from a total knee replacement (total knee arthroplasty or TKA) and knee osteoarthritis (OA). One study involving a progressive quadriceps strengthening program after total knee replacement found that it enhanced clinical improvement almost to the level of healthy older adults. The other study, the first to examine the relationship between four components of physical activity and the incidence of knee OA in older adults, found that certain types of activities were linked to an increased risk of the disease. The studies were published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Nearly half a million total knee replacements are performed each year in the US to treat severe knee OA, which is on the rise due to an increase in the elderly and overweight populations. Although knee replacement improves function, patients continue to have impaired quadriceps strength and function for activities such as walking and climbing stairs, which remain below those of healthy people of the same age. Rehabilitation targeting these areas has not been studied well and is not routinely prescribed.
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