In this systematic review, our aim was to explore whether or not patients are able to return to athletic activity following lower limb joint replacement. We also investigated any evidence as to whether participation in athletic activity post-joint replacement increases complications and reduces implant survival.
A PubMed, Embase and Sports Discus search was performed using the MeSH terms ‘Sport’, ‘Athletic’, ‘Athlete’, ‘Physical’, ‘Activity’, ‘Arthroplasty’, ‘Total Hip Replacement’, ‘Hip Resurfacing’, ‘Total Knee Replacement’, ‘Unicompartmental Knee Replacement’ and ‘Unicondylar Knee Replacement’. From this search, duplications were excluded, the remaining abstracts were reviewed and any unrelated to the search terms were excluded. The remaining abstracts had their full papers reviewed.
Following joint replacement, participation in sporting activity is common principally determined by pre-operative patient activity levels, BMI and patient age. The type of joint replaced is of less significance. Total time spent performing activity does not change but tends to be at a lower intensity. There is little evidence in the literature of an association between high activity levels and early implant failure.