Falls in people prior to undergoing total hip or total knee replacement surgery: Frequency and associated factors

Keith D. Hill, Elin Wee, Soula Margelis, Hylton B. Menz, John Bartlett, Neil R. Bergman, Stephen McMahon, David L. Hare, Pazit Levinger

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background Total hip/total knee replacement (THR/TKR) surgery is becoming an increasingly common approach for the management of primarily lower limb osteoarthritis. A number of factors such as reducing mobility, structural joint changes, and pain may predispose those awaiting hip and knee surgery to falls, which may impact on pre- and postsurgery functions. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of falls in the year preceding THR/TKR surgery, and factors associated with falls. Methods Cross-sectional survey of patients scheduled for THR/TKR, including measures of joint disease severity, falls, falls efficacy, quality of life, pain, and depression. Comparisons across falls status (nonfaller, single faller, or multiple faller) and high/low disease severity for both THR and TKR groups were undertaken. Results A total of 282 people (mean age 67.3 years) completed surveys before the surgery (197 TKR). As much as 41% reported one or more falls in the preceding year, and participants reported that the affected joint contributed to the fall in 35% of the cases. TKR multiple fallers (≥ 2 falls) had significantly lower falls efficacy, worse function, greater pain catastrophizing and depression, and poorer 36-Item Short Form Survey Mental Component Scores than nonmultiple fallers. For both THR and TKR groups, several measures were significantly worse for those with greater disease severity, including falls efficacy, depression, pain catastrophizing, self-rated health, and physical activity. Conclusion Falls are common in the 12 months preceding total hip or knee surgery. A number of factors are associated with risk of multiple falls and with joint disease severity. Strategies to reduce falls risk should be a priority in the year preceding lower limb joint surgery to optimize presurgery and postsurgery outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • accidental falls
  • joint replacement
  • osteoarthritis

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