Training Improves Physical Function After Hip Replacement

Walking, stair-climbing, improve more in patients who undergo skill training

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with osteoarthritis who undergo total hip arthroplasty (THA), a walking skill training program performed three to five months after THA improves physical functioning, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Kristi Elisabeth Heiberg, R.P.T., from the University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues compared the immediate and 12-month post-surgery effects of a walking skill training program in patients with osteoarthritis who underwent unilateral THA. A total of 35 and 33 patients were randomized into training (12 physical therapist-assisted sessions of 70 minutes each, twice a week) and control groups (no supervision), respectively. Participants were evaluated using the six minute walking test (6MWT), stair-climbing test (ST), Index of Muscle Function (IMF), figure-of-eight test (Fig. 8), hip's active range of motion (ROM), and self-reported self-efficacy and physical functioning (Harris Hip Score [HHS]) at three months (pre-test) and five and 12 months after surgery (post-tests 1 and 2, respectively).

The investigators found that, compared with pre-test scores, the post-test 1 scores on 6MWT, ST, Fig. 8, IMF, hip ROM in extension, HHS, and self-efficacy were significantly higher in the training than the control groups. For pre-test versus post-test 1, and post-test 1 versus 2, an improvement in walking distance of ≥50 meters was seen in 74 and 46 percent of patients in the training and control groups, respectively. The changes from post-test 1 to post-test 2 for 6MWT and ST were significantly larger in the training group than the control group.

"The walking skill training program performed three to five months after THA was effective in improving physical functioning," the authors write.

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