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Importance of Home Exercises after Hip Replacement

Posted on: 11/30/1999
This study measured hip muscle strength and walking speeds before and after a home exercise program for patients with a total hip replacement (THR). All patients had the THR at least one and a half years. They found that patients who exercised at least three times a week for 12 weeks improved in strength and walking ability significantly.

Two groups of patients with THR were included. The first group did a 12-week exercise program. Hip muscles were strengthened. Everyone was instructed to walk 30-minutes every day. The second (control) group did not get any training.

The training group kept a daily record of how often they did the exercises. The training group fell into two sections: those who exercised 50 percent or more of the time and those who exercised less than 50 percent of the time. These two groups were labeled exercise-high and exercise-low.

The researchers show in this study that the type of exercise done after THR is important but so is compliance. Patients in the exercise-high group made big improvements in strength and function after THR compared to both the exercise-low and control groups. Both the hip with the THR and the other hip showed improved strength. Only the exercise-high group improved in walking speed.

Previous studies have shown that hip muscle strength decreases one to two years after THR. This study reports patients can prevent future hip problems by exercising regularly. A program of walking and specific exercises seems to work the best.

Mei-Hwa Jan, MS, et al. Effects of a Home Program on Strength, Walking Speed, and Function after Total Hip Replacement. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. December 2004. Vol. 85. No. 12. Pp. 1943-1951.

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