Objective: To assess the efficacy of a home exercise program in increasing hip muscle strength, walking speed, and function in patients more than 1.5 years after total hip replacement (THR).
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Kinesiology laboratory.
Participants: Fifty-three patients with unilateral THR were randomly assigned to the training (n=26) and control (n=27) groups. Patients in the training group were further divided into exercise-high (n=13) and exercise-low (n=13) compliance groups according to their practice ratio (high, > or =50%).
Intervention: The training group underwent a 12-week home program that included hip flexion range of motion exercises for both hip joints; strengthening exercises for bilateral hip flexors, extensors, and abductors; and a 30-minute walk every day. The control group did not receive any training.
Main outcome measures: Strength of bilateral hip muscles, free and fast walking speeds while walking over 3 different terrains, and functional performance were assessed by using a dynamometer, videotape analysis, and the functional activity part of the Harris Hip Score, respectively, before and after the 12-week period.
Results: Subjects in the exercise-high compliance group showed significantly (P <.05) greater improvement in muscle strength for the operated hip, fast walking speed, and functional score than those in the exercise-low compliance and control groups.
Conclusions: The designed home program was effective in improving hip muscle strength, walking speed, and function in patients after THR who practiced the program at least 3 times a week, but adherence to this home program may be a problem.