Using the patient’s perspective to develop function short forms specific to total hip and knee replacement based on WOMAC function items

T. R.  Liebs, W. Herzberg, J. Gluth, W. Rüther, J. Haasters, M. Russlies, J. Hassenpflug


Although the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) osteoarthritis index was originally developed for the assessment of non-operative treatment, it is commonly used to evaluate patients undergoing either total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR). We assessed the importance of the 17 WOMAC function items from the perspective of 1198 patients who underwent either THR (n = 704) or TKR (n = 494) in order to develop joint-specific short forms. After these patients were administered the WOMAC pre-operatively and at three, six, 12 and 24 months’ follow-up, they were asked to nominate an item of the function scale that was most important to them. The items chosen were significantly different between patients undergoing THR and those undergoing TKR (p < 0.001), and there was a shift in the priorities after surgery in both groups. Setting a threshold for prioritised items of ≥ 5% across all follow-up, eight items were selected for THR and seven for TKR, of which six items were common to both. The items comprising specific WOMAC-THR and TKR function short forms were found to be equally responsive compared with the original WOMAC function form.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:239–43.


  • No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

  • Received August 7, 2012.
  • Accepted November 13, 2012.
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