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Motivation May Affect Timing on Return to Work With a New Knee

Resumption of activity depends more on the patient than the type of job, study finds

FRIDAY, Jan. 7, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Personal motivation plays a major role in how quickly a person returns to work after a total knee replacement, new research has found.

A study that involved 162 people who had full- or part-time jobs or were self-employed found that the median time it took people to go back to their job after a total knee replacement was 8.9 weeks.

"Although the physical demands of a patient's job certainly have some influence on their ability to return to work following a primary total knee replacement, the patient's characteristics, particularly motivation, play a more important role," study author Joseph F. Styron, of Case Western Reserve University, said in news release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

People's motivation to return to work, he added, may be affected by a combination of factors, including the value they place on work and their commitment to their job.

He urged doctors to take personal motivation into account when advising patients before knee surgery and during recovery.

"It appears that properly managed, highly motivated patients are capable of returning to work even in physically demanding jobs," Styron said. "The implications for advising patients preoperatively are clear: They should be told that returning to work depends more on the patient than his or her type of job."

Other factors that predicted an earlier return to work after knee replacement included:

  • Being female
  • Having a job that was less physically demanding
  • Being self-employed
  • Being employed at a workplace that's accessible to people with disabilities
  • Having a stable emotional state before the surgery

The study findings were published in the Jan. 5 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about total knee replacement.

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, Jan 5, 2011
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