According to a literature review in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), patients' activity level is a strong predictor for how well they will do with certain treatments and how well they recover from injuries after treatment. Patients are encouraged to ask their orthopaedic surgeon if activity level is an important factor in their treatment decision. For example, more active patients are at a higher risk of re-injury after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, and activity level should be considered when deciding which graft to use in the ACL repair.
Easily administered, standardized scales for the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle are commonly used in orthopaedics to quantify a patient's activity level. But, the measures of how often, rather than how well, a task is performed do not account for symptoms, functional disabilities, age, weight, overall health and other factors which also may impact prognostic and outcome variables.
"In orthopaedics, we want to restore function to take away pain and to help patients return to activity," said orthopaedic surgeon and lead study author Robert H. Brophy, MD. "We're still learning about how to best use, quantify and measure activity levels to optimize prognostics and outcomes."
Other literature review highlights:
"There's not just one activity level variable" in these measurements, said Dr. Brophy. "It depends on the population, the injury you're studying, etc. We're making progress, and the progress varies depending on what you're looking at."
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