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Table 1 Characteristics of randomised controlled trials on hip arthroplasty rehabilitation interventions to improve functional outcome

From: An appraisal of rehabilitation regimes used for improving functional outcome after total hip replacement surgery

Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Galea et al., 2008 [20] Home based group (n = 12);
Centre based group (n = 11)
Centre and Home 8 weeks Immediate post-operative period All participants: Standard inpatient physiotherapy with functional tasks, instructions to take home and 4 visits at home by physiotherapist
Home group: Exercise as above with no advice or further instruction
Centre group: 2 visits/week for 45 minutes each time. 5 bouts of exercise per week
No differences in both groups at final follow up although all parameters improved significantly from baseline in both groups.
Timed up and go: centre 11.1 ± 2.5 s vs home 11.7 ± 1.5.
6 minute walking test: centre 427 ± 78.2 m vs home 457.8 ± 112.2 m.
Stair Climb: centre 3.1 ± 1.8 s vs. 2.9 ± 0.5 s.
None recorded Patients had significant access to advice and physiotherapy visits. Even though they had the instructions and no advice in the home group, as part of standard protocol, they could all see physiotherapists on a further 3 or 4 occasions if they requested it.
Giaquinto et al., 2010
Control (n = 33), Intervention (n = 31) Centre 6 months < 10 days Control group: Physiotherapy + 'neutral' massage of scar
Intervention group: Hydrotherapy in special pool for 40 minutes after 20 minutes of passive joint exercises
All sessions performed x6/week for 3 weeks
At 6 months:
WOMAC pain subscale:
No pain 45.6% intervention group vs. 23% control
WOMAC stiffness subscale:
No stiffness 67.7% intervention group vs. 35.8% control
WOMAC function subscale:
Score of 0 in function 19.3% intervention group vs. 2.56% control
None recorded -3 week follow-up data initially reported by authors showed objective improvements in speed; stance for example but no further attempt was made to see if this was maintained at 6 months.
-No absolute values of the WOMAC subscales given? effect sizes between groups
Greameaux et al., 2008
Intervention n = 16; Control n = 16 Centre 45 days Immediate post-operative period Intervention group: low frequency electrical stimulation of both quadriceps and calf muscles bilaterally. 1 hour session 5 days a week for 5 weeks and conventional physiotherapy (2 hours a day for 5 days/week for 5 weeks (25 sessions))
Control group: Conventional physiotherapy - range of motion exercises, muscle strengthening static and dynamic
Maximal isometric knee extension:
Significant ↑ in power of operated limb for intervention vs control (66.7 N(77%) vs 26.7 N(23%)), p < 0.05.
No significant difference for length of stay nor walking assessment (6MWT and 200 mFWT)
None recorded -Small sample size
-Absence of a true placebo group
-Absence of standardisation for the rehabilitation programme
Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Hesse et al., 2003 [23] Control n = 40
Intervention n = 40
Centre 12 months Within 3 weeks post-operatively All patients: 45 minute individualised treatment on each of 10 consecutive days including passive physiotherapy (massage, heat ultrasound), group therapy in pool.
Control: Passive hip and knee mobilisation, strengthening of hip abductor and extensor muscles, gait retraining on floor and stairs
Intervention: Treadmill training after above hip and knee mobilisation(20 min days 1-5); days 6-10, 35 minutes treadmill training with 10 minutes physiotherapy
Primary outcome:
Harris Hip Score: Intervention vs. control significantly higher (p < 0.0001) at 10 days (13.6 points), 3 months (8.9 points) and 12 months (16.5 points).
Secondary outcomes:
No change in walking velocity between groups
Mean interval to abandon crutches 3.2 wks intervention vs 7.9 wks control
At end of 10/7 program, for intervention group:
Hip extension deficit 6.8° less
Gait symmetry 10% greater
Affected hip abductor stronger
Amplitude of gluteus medius activity 41.5% greater (ALL above p < 0.0001)
Above differences persisted at 3 and 12 months
None recorded 37.5% drop out rate at 1 year
Husby et al., 2009 [24] Control (n = 12)
Intervention (n = 12)
Centre 5 weeks Within 1st week postoperatively Control: Inpatient rehabilitation treatment with sling exercise therapy in hip abduction/adduction, flexion/extension; low resistance exercises for 1 hour, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Patients discharged before 4 weeks had outpatient treatment 3×/week and were encouraged to do exercises at home 2×/week.
Intervention: Above regime and 5 training bouts per week: ~10 minute warm up then stationary cycling at Vo2 max 50%; strength training with 2 exercises leg press and hip abduction on operated leg only. 4 series with rest periods of 2 minutes
Bilateral leg press: 40.9% improvement in intervention vs. control group at 5 weeks (p < 0.002).
Operated leg strength increased by 65.2% vs. control at 5 weeks (p < 0.002)
Abductor strength in operated leg 87% more pronounced in intervention vs control at 5 weeks (p < 0.002).
No difference in gait parameters and health related quality of life outcomes (SF36) at 5 weeks between groups.
For work efficiency, the intervention lowered the heart rate by 11.4% relative to the control group at 5 weeks and it also led to a 32.3% trends towards better work efficiency (p = 0.065) after 5 weeks.
None recorded Lack of adequate sample size to demonstrate significant differences in parameters used to assess work efficiency
Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Jan et al., 2004
Control (n = 29),
Intervention (n = 29
Home 12 weeks At least 1.5 years Control group: no exercises
Intervention group: 12 week exercise program inclusive of hip flexion range of motion, isotonic strengthening of hip flexors, extensors and abductors using ankle weights, walking + weekly telephone calls
Strength measured with an isokinetic dynamometer.
High compliance intervention group, n = 13(> 50% adherence to protocol), showed significant improvement in strength of hip abductors, flexors and extensors on both operated and non-operated legs, as well as greater walking speed and functional activity component of Harris hip score compared to low compliance group, n = 12 and normal control.
None recorded Subjects in the intervention group were not allowed to visit any physiotherapy department but if they raised issues with the program, they were invited to return to the laboratory for further instructions. No detail is given as to what proportion of the cohort required this and how often.
Jesudason et al., 2002
Intervention n = 21; Control n = 21 Centre 7 days 1st post-operative day Control group: Standard protocol for mobilisation, progression of mobility as determined by treating physiotherapist
Exercise group: Bed exercises; hip, knee, ankle range of movement exercises. Progressed from 5 repetitions once a day to 10 repetitions as tolerated 2-3 times per day
Pain severity:
Significant ↓ in pain (p = 0.01) in both groups from days 3-7 post-op.
No significant difference in both groups in terms of hip flexion, abduction range of movement, function using the ILOA scale, or length of stay at 3 or 7 days post-operatively.
None recorded Short intervention
Short period of follow up
No objective assessment of muscle strength
Liebs et al., 2010
Hip arthroplasty subgroup.
Control n = 104; Intervention n = 99
Centre 24 months 2 weeks postoperatively Control: No ergometer cycling
Intervention: Physiotherapist guided sessions with ergometer initially. Sessions 3/week for ≥3 weeks.
All patients: standard program of physiotherapy including range of motion exercises, ADL based movements and walking on stairs and uneven surfaces
Primary outcomes:
WOMAC function subscale: Intervention more improved than control at 3 months (16.4 vs. 21.6 (p = 0.046)) and 24 months (9 vs. 14.7 (p = 0.019))
Secondary outcomes
WOMAC stiffness subscale: Intervention more improved than control at 24 months (13.4 vs. 18.6 (p = 0.047))
WOMAC pain: Intervention more improved than control at 3 months (11.1 vs. 15.9 (p = 0.049))
Improvements also noted in intervention vs control in Lequesne hip and knee score (at 24 months), SF36 (6 and 24 months) and patient satisfaction (92% vs. 80%)
1 dislocation in both groups Mixed hip and knee arthroplasty population
77% follow up at 24 months
Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Mahomed et al., 2008 [28] Home based n = 115;
Centre based n = 119
Home/Centre 12 months On discharge from hospital All patients: standard physiotherapy regimen: deep breathing, coughing, active and assisted bed/chair gait training
Home regime: Referral to community team: nursing, home support etc. Patients discharged when functionally improved as determined by attending therapist
Centre-regime: 14 day stay in rehab centre with established pathway (regime not specified)
Primary outcomes:
WOMAC function subscale: no difference between groups at 3 and 12 months
Hip and Knee satisfaction scale: no difference between groups at 3 and 12 months
SF36 short form: no difference at 3 and 12 months
Impatient rehabilitation more expensive than home based ($14531 vs. $11082)
2% dislocation rate in both intervention and control groups Hip and knee arthroplasty patients included. No specific detail given for hip population
Munin et al., 1998
Mixed hip and knee arthroplasty.
Total n = 70
Hip cohort:
Control n = 12;
Intervention n = 14
Centre 16 weeks Immediate post-operative period Intervention group: Commenced rehabilitation protocol at 3 days post-op
Control group: Commenced rehabilitation protocol at 7 days post-op.
Median length of stay: intervention 12.2 days vs. control 14.8 days
Cost of surgery and rehabilitation lower for intervention ($28256) than control ($29437).
RAND 36 functional self assessment: No difference between both groups through the follow-up period
1 dislocation each in control and intervention groups Mixed hip and knee arthroplasty population
Analysing both hips and knees together, the intervention group shows more rapid attainment of short term functional milestones such as ambulation, walking distance and stair climbing ability at 6-10 days post-op. No difference existed for stratifying patients to type of surgery.
Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Rahmann et al., 2009 [30] Control n = 17, Aquatic group n = 18, Water exercises n = 19 Centre 180 days From post-op days 4 - 10 All patients: Standard physiotherapy x1/day
Ward control: as above
Water exercise group: General exercises in water but not targeted at specific functional retraining in the aquatic environment (40 minutes once daily till discharge)
Aquatic group: Hip abductor/adductor exercises with increasing progression- squat, heel raises in various positions in pool (40 minutes once daily till discharge)
Hip subgroup:
No significant difference across the 3 groups for primary outcomes such as hip abductor strength, 10 m walk, WOMAC score and secondary outcomes such as timed up and go, quadriceps strength.
None recorded Mixed group of hip and knee arthroplasty patients
Small number of participants
Smith et al., 2008
Control n = 30; Intervention n = 30 Centre 6 weeks Immediate post-operative period Control group: Standard gait re-education protocol from post-operative day 1
Intervention group: Gait re-education with programme of bed exercises from day 1 including; active hip flexion, ankle dorsi/plantarflexion, static quads and gluteal exercises. 10 repetitions each, 5 times a day during hospital stay. Patients encouraged to continue same regime on discharge
Iowa level of assistance (ILOA): Significant improvement from baseline in both groups but no difference in both groups at 3 days and 6 weeks
SF12: No difference in both groups
At week 6, 1 dislocation in control group; no dislocations recorded in intervention group No concealed allocation of randomisation so possible selection bias
No objective assessment of hip strength performed
Stockton et al., 2009 [32] Control n = 27;
Intervention n = 30
Centre 6 days Immediate post-operative period Control group: Once daily physiotherapy including mobilisation exercises and transfer practice. Encouragement to perform 4× daily till independently mobile
Intervention group: 2 physiotherapy sessions per day. Similar protocol to above
Length of stay:
No significant difference -Intervention (8.2 days) vs control (8 days)
ILOA: Significant difference at 3 days (intervention 28.5 vs control 32.2 (p = 0.041) but not at 7 days (intervention 18.2 vs control 20.6)
None recorded Length of follow up
No objective measurement of muscle strength
Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Suetta et al., 2004
Total n = 36;
Standard rehabilitation (SR) n = 12,
Electrical stimulation (ES) n = 11,
Resistance training
(RT) n = 13
Centre/Home 12 weeks Immediate post-operative period SR: 15 exercises in 2 parts. 1st part 6 bed exercises; 2nd part knee extensions in seated position and hip abduction, knee flexion, step training and calf stretching while standing. The attending physiotherapist added ambulation and transfer during the inpatient stay. Exercise was encouraged in the home setting 2×/day and attendance was arranged at a physiotherapy department once a week.
NM: Electrodes placed over quadriceps of operated leg 5 cm below inguinal ligament and 5 cm above patella. Pulse rate 40 Hz, pulse width 250 μs, stimulation ~10 s with 20 s of rest. Total stimulation 1 hour per day for 12 weeks.
RT: Unilateral progressive resistance training for quadriceps of operated leg. Exercises included knee extension in seated position with sandbags on ankles, leg presses in supine position, supervised by trained physiotherapist. Intensity increased from 50% of 1RM in week 1 to 65% 1RM weeks 2-4, 70% 1RM weeks 5, 6 and 80% 1RM last 6 weeks. For each session patients performed 3-5 sets of 10 repetitions during weeks 1-5 and 2-5 sets of 8 repetitions weeks 6-12.
Length of Stay:
RT led to the shortest length of stay compared to ES and SR (10 ± 2.4 days vs. 12 ± 2.8 and 16 ± 7.2 respectively). The difference (37%) between RT and SR was statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Functional performance:
Gait speed: RT ↑ maximal gait speed by 30% at 12 weeks (p < 0.001) whilst ES increases it by 19% (p < 0.05). No increase was seen in the SR group.
Sit to stand: RT ↑ 30%, ES ↑ 21% (both p < 0.001) at 12 weeks. SR no improvement.
Stair Climb: RT↑ 28% (p < 0.005), ES 21% (p < 0.001). SR no improvement.
Quadriceps cross sectional area (CSA):
At 12 weeks, CSA of operated leg was ↑12% in RT group, ↑7% in ES group and ↓9% in SR group (all p < 0.05). The non-operated leg was unaffected in all the groups.
Peak torque on operated leg at 12 weeks was ↑22% in RT group (p < 0.05) and unchanged in ES and SR groups. No change was noted in any of the groups for the non-operated leg.
None recorded No assessment of compliance in the SR group
No documentation as to whether ES group received additional support for ambulation and transfer
No use of subjective outcome measures
Length of stay assessed was cumulative: did not discriminate between acute surgical inpatient stay and rehabilitation centre length of stay
Article Number of participants Site Follow up period Interval from surgery to intervention Exercise intervention Outcome measures Dislocation
Trudelle-Jackson et al. 2004
Control n = 14;
Intervention n = 14
Home 8 weeks 4-12 months post-operatively Control: 7 basic isometric and active range of movement exercises including the glutei, quads, hamstring sets, ankle pumps, heel slides, hip abduction in supine position and hip internal and external rotation in supine position.
Intervention: Sit to stand, unilateral heel raises, partial knee bends, 1-legged standing stance, knee raises with alternate arm raise, side and back leg raises in standing, unilateral pelvic lowering and raising in standing
Both groups: Progressively increasing repetitions of exercises encouraged 3-4/week for 8 weeks
No difference in fear of falling between both groups.
Significant increase in following in the intervention group compared to control at 8 weeks:
Hip flexor strength (↑47.8%)
Hip extensor strength (↑41.2%)
Hip abductor strength (↑23.4%)
Postural stability (↑36.8%)
None recorded Not clear whether the intervention and control groups both received the same amount of encouragement with the visits to increase repetitions
Short follow up period