|dc.description.abstract||The primary aim of this thesis addressed a knowledge gap regarding whether sensori-motor training (SMT) stimuli implemented early post-surgery are capable of targeting persisting sensori-motor and neuromuscular deficits in TKR patients’ performance. Therefore, the effects of early enhanced sensori-motor training (ESMET) on self-reported and objective measures of physical function, sensori-motor, neuromuscular, and musculoskeletal performance capabilities of patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR) were investigated.
In order to assess the effects of SMT on patients’ functional mobility and sensori-motor function, as well as indirectly investigating the mechanism underpinning any observed effects, relevant outcome measures used in the literature were reviewed for their clinimetric properties. Indices of functional performance, as reflected by the Timed Up and Go Test (as primary outcome), balance-related performance, sensori-motor performance, neuromuscular performance, muscle size and knee ROM, as well as patient-reported measures (PROMs), were selected on the basis of their clinimetric utility to best reflect the outcome of the SMT intervention. A clinical survey of Greek physiotherapists’ perspectives revealed that contemporary usual care management of TKR-related rehabilitation incorporated in the majority of cases home-based exercises with emphasis on knee ROM and muscle strengthening (Moutzouri et al, 2016b). A first systematic review including studies with IIc-IV level of evidence (Moutzouri et al, 2016c), revealed that patients undergoing TKR surgery experience persisting deficits in static and dynamic balance and incidence of falls remain within the pre-surgery levels. In parallel, a second systematic review evaluating preliminary effects of contemporary functional physiotherapy programmes being augmented by SMT in TKR clinical population, revealed statistically significant greater effects for balance performance but not for functional capabilities. However, the number of studies that had met inclusion criteria was small (n = 5) and the nature of their designs, which had been as pilot studies in the majority of cases, precluded conclusive findings.
Following preliminary investigations of reproducibility of measurement and related clinimetric characteristics of outcomes, the main aspect of the thesis reported on the findings of a novel randomised control trial (Moutzouri et al,2017), in which the effects of a newly formulated time-matched sensori-motor exercise training programme [ESMET] was compared with those from a functional exercise training programme [FET] (representing the control condition and usual care practice, and which have been characterised by the findings of the aforementioned clinical survey) during rehabilitation following TKR. Participants (n= 52) were allocated to 12-week programmes of rehabilitation, initiated in the second week post-surgery, and assessed at pre-surgery (0 weeks), 8 weeks post-surgery, and at 14 weeks post-surgery on outcomes which included indices of self-reported and objective measures of physical function, sensori-motor, neuromuscular, and musculoskeletal performance capabilities. The findings revealed significant advantages for the new sensori-motor focused rehabilitation on several outcomes (relative effect size range at 14 weeks post-surgery ~ 0.5 to 2.1), including a significant group by time interaction (F(1.7,82.5)GG = 11.0; p <0.005) for the study’s primary outcome (Timed Up and Go Test), favouring ESMET over FET by ~ 35 %. However, the study’ findings need to be interpreted with caution due to the single-blind nature of the study.
Key words: total knee replacement; knee osteoarthritis, Rehabilitation; Balance; sensori-motor training||en