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INTRODUCTION: Lower limb arthroplasty is successful at relieving symptoms associated with joint failure. However, physically-demanding activities can cause primary osteoarthritis and accordingly such exposure post-operatively might increase the risk of prosthetic failure. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the literature to investigate whether there was any evidence of increased risk of revision arthroplasty after exposure to intensive, physically-demanding activities at work or during leisure-time. METHODS: We searched Medline, Embase and Scopus databases (1985-July 2021) for original studies including primary lower limb arthroplasty recipients that gathered information on physically-demanding occupational and/or leisure activities and rates of revision arthroplasty. Methodological assessment was performed independently by two assessors using SIGN, AQUILA and STROBE. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO [CRD42017067728]. RESULTS: Thirteen eligible studies were identified: 9 (4,432 participants) after hip arthroplasty and 4 (7,137participants) after knee arthroplasty. Narrative synthesis was performed due to considerable heterogeneity in quantifying exposures. We found limited evidence that post-operative activities (work or leisure) did not increase the risk of knee revision and could even be protective. We found insufficient high-quality evidence to indicate that exposure to physically-demanding occupations increased the risk of hip revision although "heavy work", agricultural work and, in women, health services work, may be implicated. We found conflicting evidence about risk of revision hip arthroplasty associated with either leisure-time or total physical activities (occupational or leisure-time). CONCLUSION: There is currently a limited evidence base to address this important question. There is weak evidence that the risk of revision hip arthroplasty may be increased by exposure to physically-demanding occupational activities but insufficient evidence about the impact on knee revision and about exposure to leisure-time activities after both procedures. More evidence is urgently needed to advise lower limb arthroplasty recipients, particularly people expecting to return to jobs in some sectors (e.g., construction, agriculture, military).

Original publication




Journal article


Plos one

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