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Study of Physical Activity Rewards after Knee Surgery

Quality of life is a critical component of public health, and multiple studies have shown that an increased engagement in physical activity is associated with improved health-related quality of life. Despite the long term benefits, adherence to physical guidelines is poor in the general population and particularly among those with limited mobility due to arthritis. Total knee replacement surgery improves quality of life by reducing pain and improving function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Despite enhanced mobility, patients’ physical activity levels increase little after joint replacement. In order to derive the maximum benefit from joint replacement surgery, SPARKS attempts to establish the feasibility of behavioral economic interventions on physical activity in this newly mobile population.  By engaging in physical activity, recipients of TKR can improve their quality of life as well as reduce the incidence of comorbidities.


SPARKS is comprised of four intervention arms:

  1. Usual Care – Patients will be contacted regularly during the nine months following their TKR to provide clarification to any questions about the study, study website, or FitBit accelerometer.
  2. Health Education– Patients will receive phone calls from a trained “Health Educator” to discuss TKR rehabilitation, physical activity goals, and progress.
  3. Financial Incentives – Patients will be asked to complete physical activity logs throughout their TKR rehabilitation period. Financial compensation will be provided for completing the logs regularly, meeting physical activity milestones, and increasing physical activity levels in an attempt to bring the benefits and rewards of physical activity to the more immediate future.
  4. Health Education + Financial Incentives – Patients will receive the same phone calls as the Health Education group and have the same opportunities for financial compensation as the Financial Incentives group.


TKR patients of Drs. Wright, Thornhill, Brick, Martin and Ready are recruited into the SPARKS study. Enrollment is currently underway.


Funding for SPARKS is provided by National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS)

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