Six Versus 12 Weeks of Outpatient Physical Therapy Including Progressive Resistance Training in Cognitively Intact Older Adults After Hip Fracture: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 Aug 30:glab256. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glab256. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Recovery of function and regaining muscle strength is challenging after hip fracture. We compared the effectiveness of a 12 versus 6-weeks outpatient physical therapy program with progressive resistive training (PRT) to increase strength and physical performance.

METHODS: This parallel, superiority, 2-group randomized controlled trial was conducted in 4 clinics enrolled community-dwelling, cognitively intact older adults (+60 years) with a surgical repair of a hip fracture and no major medical conditions. Participants received 12 or 6-weeks of PRT and standardized physical therapy, twice weekly. Pain was monitored throughout. Primary outcome was the change in the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) from baseline to 12-weeks follow-up. Randomization via a computer-generated allocation sequence was implemented using sealed, sequentially numbered opaque envelopes and assessors were blinded to group assignment.

RESULTS: Participants (81% women) with a mean (SD) age of 77 (8.1) years were enrolled at an average of 18 days post-hip fracture surgery and randomized into a 12-week group (n=50) or a 6-week group (n=50). A mean (SD) change score in the 6MWT of 143.8 (81.1) and 161.5 (84.1) meters found in the 12 and 6-week group, respectively (both exceeding the minimal clinically important difference of 55 meters). The mean between-group difference was -17.7 (95%CI -50.1, 14.8) meter. Pain during training did not exceed moderate levels nor increase as training intensity increased.

CONCLUSION: Twelve weeks of physical therapy with PRT was not superior to 6-weeks in improving walking distance. Hip fracture-related pain was relatively low and indicated strength testing and training was well tolerated.

PMID:34460897 | DOI:10.1093/gerona/glab256

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