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Background: The overall health and the importance of physical therapy for people following total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) have been understudied. Our purpose was to characterize the overall health of patients following TAA, and explore the frequency, influence, and patient-perceived value of physical therapy.

Methods: People who received a TAA participated in this retrospective cohort online survey study. The survey included medical history questions and items from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Short Forms. Seven PROMIS domains, reflecting the biopsychosocial model of care (physical, mental, social), were included to examine participant overall health status in comparison to the general population. Items regarding physical therapy participation (yes/no), number of visits, and perceived value (scale 0-10; 10 = extremely helpful) were also included. Descriptive statistics were generated for participant characteristics, PROMIS domain T scores, and physical therapy questions. The influence of participant characteristics or physical therapy visits on PROMIS domain T scores that scored below the population mean were examined with multiple linear regression or ordinal regression.

Results: The response rate was 61% (n=95). Average postoperative time was approximately 3 years (mean [SD]: 40.0 [35.3] months). Physical function and ability to participate in social roles and activities domain T scores were at least 1 SD below the population mean. Most patients received physical therapy (86%; 17.1 [11.0] visits) and found it helpful (7.2 [3.0]). Participant characteristics were minimally predictive of physical function and social participation T scores. Number of physical therapy visits predicted physical function T scores (P = .03).

Conclusions: Most health domain scores approached the population mean. Physical therapy was perceived to have a high value, and greater visits were related to greater physical function. However, lower physical function and social participation scores suggest that postoperative care directed toward these domains could improve the value of TAA and promote overall health.


Originally published in Foot & Ankle International® 2020, Vol. 41(11) 1383–1390 © The Author(s) 2020.