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To investigate whether pre-operative functional mobility is a determinant of delayed inpatient recovery of activities (IRoA) after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in three periods that coincided with changes in the clinical pathway.All patients (n = 682, 73% women, mean age 70 years, standard deviation 9) scheduled for TKA between 2009 and 2015 were pre-operatively screened for functional mobility by the Timed-up-and-Go test (TUG) and De Morton mobility index (DEMMI). The cut-off point for delayed IRoA was set on the day that 70% of the patients were recovered, according to the Modified Iowa Levels of Assistance Scale (mILAS) (a 5-item activity scale). In a multivariable logistic regression analysis, we added either the TUG or the DEMMI to a reference model including established determinants.Both the TUG (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.10 per second, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.06 to 1.15) and the DEMMI (OR 0.96 per point on the 100-point scale, 95% CI 0.95 to 0.98) were statistically significant determinants of delayed IRoA in a model that also included age, BMI, ASA score and ISAR score. These associations did not depend on the time period during which the TKA took place, as assessed by tests for interaction.Functional mobility, as assessed pre-operatively by the TUG and DEMMI, is an independent and stable determinant of delayed inpatient recovery of activities after TKA. Future research, focusing on improvement of pre-operative functional mobility through tailored physiotherapy intervention, should indicate whether such intervention enhances postoperative recovery among high-risk patients.