By: 4 January 2017
Physical activity does not improve after hip replacement

New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that patients’ physical activity does not increase following hip replacement surgery.

In the first systematic review specifically to examine differences in physical activity before and after hip replacement surgery, scientists looked at data from over 1000 patients who had received hip replacements. Indicators for physical activity after surgery included whether patients were walking longer distances, walking more quickly, cycling or climbing stairs. The results indicated that there was no clear evidence of a change in physical activity following surgery.

“The most common reason for a hip replacement is to reduce pain on movement,” said lead researcher Tom Withers from UEA’s School of Health Sciences. “We expected that the amount of physical activity post-surgery would therefore increase. What we found surprised us.

“The benefits of regular physical activity following a hip replacement are well known, so this research is important for healthcare professionals because it suggests that patients need to be encouraged to be more physically active.”

Toby Smith, lecturer in physiotherapy at UEA, added: “The lack of significant difference in physical activity after patients undergo such a common procedure suggests there is a need for further research, including further investigation into how other personal characteristics or pre-existing conditions might also influence the results.

“Healthcare professionals and researchers need to better understand this lack of change and how patient’s perceptions of physical activity might be modified to increase their engagement in physical activity post-operatively.”

Source: University of East Anglia


Reference: Withers, T., et al. (2016) Is there a difference in physical activity levels in patients before and up to one year after unilateral total hip replacement? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Rehabilitation, doi: 10.1177/0269215516673884.