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Walking skills program improves physical function following hip replacement surgery
Date:12/14/2011

Researchers in Norway report that patients who receive walking skills training following total hip arthroplasty for osteoarthritis show improved physical function. The physical therapy program displayed a positive effect on walking distance and stair climbing which continued 12 months following hip replacement surgery. Results of the study appear in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease where loss of cartilage in affected joints such as the knees, hips, fingers or spine causes pain and stiffness that can be disabling. In some cases, the only treatment option for OA is total replacement of the joint, known as arthroplasty. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10% of men and 18% of women 60 years of age and older suffer from OA. In the U.S., the National Hospital Discharge Survey reported that 230,000 Americans had hip replacement surgery in 2007.

Previous research reported pain relief, a return to daily functioning, and maintaining an active lifestyle to be high priorities for hip replacement patients. Yet despite improvements in pain and mobility following surgery, several studies have shown patients with hip replacements had more walking impairment compared to healthy peers, and displayed poorer hip flexibility and muscle strength in their affected hip. "Physical therapy, particularly exercises that increase strength and improve walking, is a major component of patient rehabilitation following hip arthroplasty," said Kristi Elisabeth Heiberg, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oslo in Norway and lead author of the current study.

To investigate the effects of a walking skills training program on walking, stair-climbing, balance, physical function, and pain, the research team recruited participants undergoing total hip arthroplasty at two hospitals in the Oslo area. Patients were enroll
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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