“Rooting me on”: Exploring the Social Influences of Patients Recovering from Total Knee Arthroplasties
- Kathleen Wilson, Associate Professor of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton
- Scott Lynn, Associate Professor of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton
Background: The high prevalence of knee osteoarthritis in older adults has led to an increased rate of knee replacement surgeries. Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an invasive surgical procedure that requires a long process of rehabilitation. When considering factors that contribute to successful rehabilitation, patients’ satisfaction with the social support they receive has been associated with an improved health-related quality of life. However, little is known about the content of these interactions and why a patient may be satisfied. Purpose: This study qualitatively explored the social influences patients experience following a TKA. Methods: Participants (N=6; 4 females & 2 males) were all first-time TKA patients; two females and two males had one knee operated on, one female had both knees operated on, and one female had multiple revisions done to her TKA. Participants ranged in age from 41 to 65 years. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in which participants were asked about their experience at multiple points ranging from pre-operative to the end of their rehabilitation. These interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was then performed to identify themes that emerged both within and across cases. Results: One theme focused on trust in the doctor during the surgery. Other themes focused on the rehabilitation process. Themes emerged about the clinicians being “very attentive to my specific needs” and the clinic as being “just a friendly atmosphere”. In addition to the values placed on positive social environment within the clinic, participants also valued the emotional support: “Rooting me on” and tangible support: “I had all kinds of back up and help” received from family and friends. These themes display the importance of social influence throughout recovery process. Conclusions: These findings have implications for clinicians, patients and their families to ensure successful rehabilitation from TKA.