Objective: To investigate the effects of a late-phase exercise program for patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty (THA) 4 to 12 months earlier.
Design: A single-blind, randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Exercises were performed in subjects' homes. Exercise instruction and measurements taken before and after the trial were performed in an outpatient research and treatment center.
Participants: Convenience sample of 34 adults 4 to 12 months post-THA randomly allocated to experimental or control groups. Twenty-eight subjects completed the study.
Intervention: An 8-week, hip-exercise intervention, during which the control group received basic isometric and active range of motion exercises; the experimental group received strength and postural stability exercises.
Main outcome measures: Score on the 12-Item Hip Questionnaire; fear of falling; hip flexor, extensor, abductor, and knee extensor muscle torque; and postural stability in single stance.
Results: There was a statistically significant improvement in all measures of self-perceived function, muscle strength (hip flexors, 24.4%; hip extensors, 47.8%; hip abductors, 41.2%; knee extensors, 23.4%), and postural stability (36.8%) in the experimental group and no significant change in the control group. Neither group had statistically significant changes in fear of falling measures.
Conclusions: An exercise program emphasizing weight bearing and postural stability significantly improved muscle strength, postural stability, and self-perceived function in patients 4 to 12 months after THA.