Background: Current international treatment guidelines recommending therapeutic exercise for people with symptomatic hip OA report are based on expert opinion only.
Objectives: To determine whether land-based therapeutic exercise is beneficial for people with hip OA in terms of reduced joint pain and/or improved physical function.
Search strategy: Five databases were searched from 1966 up until August 2008.
Selection criteria: All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) recruiting people with hip OA and comparing some form of land-based therapeutic exercise (as opposed to exercises conducted in the water) with a non-exercise group.
Data collection and analysis: Three reviewers independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality. All analyses were conducted on continuous outcomes.
Main results: Combining the results of the five included RCTs demonstrated a small treatment effect for pain, but no benefit in terms of improved self-reported physical function. Only one of these five RCTs exclusively recruited people with symptomatic hip OA.
Authors' conclusions: The limited number and small sample size of the included RCTs restricts the confidence that can be attributed to these results. Adequately powered RCTs evaluating exercise programs specifically designed for people with symptomatic hip OA need to be conducted.