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Investigating the effects of tai chi chuan exercises on patients with total knee arthroplasty


Researchers from hospitals affiliated with Jining University and Jilin University in China investigated whether tai chi chuan (TCC) exercises can improve functional outcomes and the quality of life (QOL) of patients with primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) due to knee osteoarthritis (OA). Their findings were published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

  • Post-operative rehabilitation is an important part of a successful TKA, but scientists are yet to determine optimal exercise programs.
  • To address this, the researchers conducted a single-center, single-blind, randomized controlled trial involving 107 participants with primary TKA for end-stage knee OA. They enrolled the participants from January 2014 to January 2017.
  • Treatment included TCC exercises (intervention) or traditional physical exercises (control) and lasted for 12 weeks.
  • The researchers assessed the following outcomes: Western Ontario and McMaster University Arthritis Index (WOMAC), six-minute walk test (6MWT), knee range of motion (ROM) and short form (36) health survey (SF-36). They also recorded adverse events related to TCC exercises or TKA.
  • Before the intervention, examination of the general descriptions of the participants showed that both groups were comparable.
  • After the 12-week intervention, the TCC group had significantly better scores for the WOMAC physical function subscale, 6MWT and SF-36 physical and mental component scales.
  • However, there were no significant differences in WOMAC pain scores and knee ROM between the two groups.
  • No adverse events were associated with the TCC exercise program.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that TCC exercises can improve physical function and the QOL of patients with primary TKA without additional risks.

Journal Reference:

Li L, Cheng S, Wang G, Duan G, Zhang Y. TAI CHI CHUAN EXERCISES IMPROVE FUNCTIONAL OUTCOMES AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN PATIENTS WITH PRIMARY TOTAL KNEE ARTHROPLASTY DUE TO KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. May 2019;35:121–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.02.003



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