Mobilisation strategies after hip fracture surgery in adults

H H G Handoll, C Sherrington
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007 January 24, (1): CD001704

BACKGROUND: Hip fracture mainly occurs in older people. Mobilisation strategies such as gait retraining and exercises are used at various stages of rehabilitation after surgery.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of different mobilisation strategies after hip fracture surgery in adults.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE and other databases, conference proceedings and reference lists of articles, up to January 2006.

SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised or quasi-randomised trials comparing different mobilisation strategies after hip fracture surgery.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: The authors independently selected trials, assessed trial quality and extracted data. There was no data pooling.

MAIN RESULTS: Most of the 13 included trials (involving 1065 participants, generally over 65 years) were small and all had methodological limitations, including inadequate follow up. Seven trials evaluated mobilisation strategies started soon after hip fracture surgery. One historic trial found no significant differences in unfavourable outcomes for weight bearing started at two versus 12 weeks after internal fixation of a displaced intracapsular fracture. Two trials compared a more with a less intensive regimen of physiotherapy: one found no difference in recovery, the other found a higher level of drop-out in the more intensive group with no difference in length of hospital stay. One trial found short-term improvement in mobility and balance for a two-week programme of weight-bearing versus non-weight-bearing exercise. One trial found improved mobility in those given a quadriceps muscle strengthening exercise programme. One trial found no significant difference in recovery of mobility after a treadmill versus conventional gait retraining programme. One trial found a greater recovery of pre-fracture mobility after neuromuscular stimulation of the quadriceps muscle. Six trials evaluated strategies started after hospital discharge. Started soon after discharge, two trials found improved outcome after 12 weeks of intensive physical training and a home-based physical therapy programme respectively. Begun after completion of standard physical therapy, one trial found improved outcome after six months of intensive physical training whereas another trial found no significant effects of home-based resistance or aerobic training. One trial found improved outcome after home-based exercises started around 22 weeks from injury. One trial found home-based weight-bearing exercises starting at seven months produced no statistically significant differences aside for greater quadriceps strength.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence from randomised trials to establish the effectiveness of the various mobilisation strategies used in rehabilitation after hip fracture surgery. Further research is required to establish the possible benefits of the additional provision of interventions, including intensive supervised exercises, primarily aimed at enhancing mobility.

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