To avoid double hip replacement surgery, an individual should exercise regularly. Exercising for an hour twice a week can reduce the need for hip replacement surgery by up to 44 percent, according to Alice Goodman for the Arthritis Foundation.
A study conducted at the Norwegian Research Centre for Active Rehabilitation was the first to indicate individuals experiencing pain from mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis should be offered a targeted exercise therapy program and patient education to improve their physical function and postpone or eliminate the need for total hip replacement surgery, notes Goodman. People suffering from severe osteoarthritis were not included in the study.
In this study, 109 people between the ages of 40 and 80 with mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis in one or both hips confirmed by X-ray attended three group sessions of patient education and were randomly assigned to an exercise program or to no program, states Goodman. Those in the exercise program participated in one hour of strengthening, flexibility and functional exercises two or three times a week for 12 weeks. Those not assigned to exercise had only a two-month follow-up visit in the physical therapy clinic.
During the next approximately six years, hip surgery was performed on 22 patients in the exercise group, while 31 patients in the group receiving only patient education did not have the surgery. The time before hip surgery was needed was also prolonged by an average median of 5.4 years in those assigned to exercise compared to 3.5 years for people in the group that did not exercise, explains Goodman.