Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

First Advisor

Leah Nof

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Background: Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is the treatment of choice for end-stage knee osteoarthritis. Growth in the number of procedures performed annually in the United States is expected to increase steadily. Post-operative rehabilitation settings vary and include both institutional and community based physical therapy (PT) services. Despite access to PT, deficits in gait often persist for months and even years after surgery. Slow gait speed, asymmetrical walking patterns, and prolonged time in double-limb support following the TKA often lead to the need for an assistive device for walking and prolong the rehabilitation phase. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyze early gait during inpatient rehabilitation to quantify both the improvements made and deficits that remain in important gait variables. This study identifies predictor variables that contribute to the variance in discharge ambulation device use and IRF length of stay. Subjects: A convenience sample of 230 patients discharged to an IRF following a TKA (160 following a single TKA and 70 following a bilateral procedure) was used for this analysis. Method: Paired t-tests were used to compare temporal and spatial gait variables from the initial gait assessment compared to the discharge gait assessment in patients following single TKA to determine remaining deficits. Right vs left comparisons were made for patients following a bilateral procedure. A binary logistic regression was used to identify predictors associated with the need for a two-handed ambulation device at discharge. A multiple linear regression developed a model to assess predictors of the inpatient rehabilitation length of stay. Finally, a self-assessment to evaluate patient confidence with walking (mGES scale) was correlated to actual gait speed performed on the gait analysis in a sample of patients from our study population. Findings: Deficits in step length, step time and percent of single limb support remained in the involved limb compared to uninvolved limb at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation following single TKA; no limb differences between the right and left side were noted in patients after bilateral TKA. The discharge gait speed of 54.6 cm/sec for single TKA patients and discharge speed of 61.5 cm/sec for bilateral TKA patients is within the classification of limited community ambulators and making them appropriate for a home discharge. But despite improvement from admission to discharge, the gait speed for both groups in our study remain below the gait speed identified by prior studies 3-months following TKA surgery where speed reached 135 cm/sec. The need for a two-handed ambulation device, such as bilateral canes or a walker, was associated with slow walking speed and prior use of a device before surgery. A longer rehabilitation length of stay was associated with slower initial gait speed, lower motor FIM scores and reduced knee extension at admission. The mGES patient self-report conducted at the time of the discharge gait assessment showed a moderate correlation to the discharge gait speed; however, the pairing of the admission mGES with the admission gait speed was not significantly correlated.


Physical Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Gait assessment, Inpatient rehabilitation facility, Physical therapy, Predictor of LOS, Predictor of ambulation device, Total knee arthroplasty

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