Proprioception, Kinesthesia, and Balance after Total Knee Arthroplasty with Cruciate-Retaining and Posterior Stabilized Prostheses

C. Buz Swanik, Scott M. Lephart, Harry E. Rubash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Background: The effect of total knee arthroplasty on proprioception, kinesthesia, and postural control remains controversial. It is argued that retaining the posterior cruciate ligament may help to preserve these sensorimotor functions and improve the longevity of the prosthesis and the functional outcome. We performed a prospective, randomized study to assess proprioception, kinesthesia, and balance following total knee arthroplasty with cruciate-retaining and posterior stabilized prostheses. Methods: Twenty patients scheduled to undergo total knee arthroplasty were randomly assigned to receive either a cruciate-retaining or a posterior stabilized prosthesis. Joint-position sense, the threshold to detect joint motion, and the subject's ability to balance on an unstable platform were assessed prior to and at least six months after the operation. Paired two-tailed t tests (with a level of significance of p < 0.05) were used to assess the effect of the arthroplasty on the preoperative measures for all subjects. Analysis of covariance was performed to identify the effects of prosthetic design. Results: Following total knee arthroplasty, patients detected motion significantly faster and reproduced joint position with less error. The balance index also improved significantly from the preoperative to the postoperative evaluation. The group treated with the posterior stabilized prosthesis more accurately reproduced joint position when the knee was extended from a flexed position. Conclusions: Total knee arthroplasty results in mild improvements in proprioception, kinesthesia, and balance. These changes may result from the retensioned capsuloligamentous structures and reduced pain and inflammation. Retention of the posterior cruciate ligament does not appear to significantly improve proprioception and balance compared with those functions in patients with a posterior stabilized total knee design. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level I-1a (randomized controlled trial [significant difference]).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-334
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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