The frequency of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is increasing, particularly in younger and more active patients. In these patients, there may be greater functional demands, with an expectation to return to sporting activities (RTS) following TKA. There is a paucity of data on the time to RTS following TKA and the aim of this meta-analysis is to determine the time to RTS following TKA.
Using the PRISMA guidelines, an electronic search of PUBMED, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library for trails was performed on TKA and RTS in English language, published since the inception of the database to 31st October 2020. Data evaluating the time to RTS and functional outcomes were recorded by two authors independently that were included in the analysis. Pooled analysis using random effect model on overall proportions at the different time intervals and at the end of the follow-up was carried out for all studies.
In total, 1,611 studies were retrieved from literature search. Of these, nine studies met the inclusion criteria with 1,307 patients. Two studies with 148 patients demonstrated an overall pooled proportion of 18.7% (95% CI 8.2–32.3%) of patients RTS at 3 month post-TKA; Three studies reported RTS rate at 6 months 70.% (95% CI 48–88.4). Two studies with 123 patients demonstrated an overall pooled proportion of 84.0% (95% CI 77.1–89.9%) patients RTS at 12 months. 986 patients returned to sport from total of 1307, with an overall adjusted proportion return to sport of 87.9 (95% CI 80.5–93.8%) at the end of follow-up; mean 14 months (range 3–36 months).
Patients undergoing TKA were found to successfully RTS, pooled proportion analysis showed an increasing rate of RTS with time, at a mean of 14 months following TKA, where 87.9% of patients had returned to sports. The findings of this study will enable more informed discussions and rehabilitation planning between patients and clinicians on RTS following TKA.