Exercise Helps Decrease Pain and Increase Function For People With Hip Arthritis

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I’m always excited when research confirms something that I’ve seen first-hand in my physical therapy clinic. In this case – new research shows that an exercise program can help patients with hip osteoarthritis.

The program (called the Tübingen exercise approach) resulted in a statistically significant decrease in pain and an improvement in physical function as compared to the control group.

In other words… Those who did the program experienced a significantly greater decrease in pain and had increased function compared to those that didn’t do the program.

This looks to be very similar to the type of program we do in my Arvada Physical Therapy office. The main parts of the program focus on:

  • Increasing strength
  • Improving balance
  • Improving proprioception (awareness of body position)
  • Improving flexibility

You can check out the full article HERE.

The main takeaways are:

1. If you have hip osteoarthritis (aka degenerative joint disease) you may benefit from a structured exercise program.

2. The program in this study lasted for 12 weeks.

3. This program consisted of 1 class per week (in a group therapy setting) and 2 independently done sessions (at home).

4. The structured class lasted 60 to 90 minutes per session.

5. The home exercise sessions were 30 to 40 minutes each.

I did a google search to find the specific protocol but had no luck. However, based on the desired outcomes (listed above) I believe a qualified outpatient orthopedic Physical Therapist should be able to put together a program that is similarly effective.

In my experience, working with well over 1000 hip arthritis patients in programs that included physical therapy exerices, 60 minutes might be a bit too much to start with. The people who come to my physical therapy office who have hip arthritis are usually between 55 and 65 years old. Many are overweight. Most are not in great physical condition (they are out of shape).

So when we start physical therapy the program is developed with progression in mind. We start so the exercise program presents a small to moderate challenge.  Then we progress as you show signs of improvement.  We do this by gradually increasing the challenge of the physical therapy exercises.

This lets you progress at your own rate. Also it makes physical therapy an enjoyable experience. And why would anyone come back to any physical therapy clinic week after week for 3 months if the experience was unpleasant?

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