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Effects of device-performed and manual hip traction and vibration therapy in older adults with symptomatic hip osteoarthritis: A randomized single-blind controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Traction-and-vibration-therapy (TVT) relieves pain in participants with hip osteoarthritis. Hip TVT is usually performed manually by the physiotherapist.

OBJECTIVE: A medical device was developed to perform hip-TVT in order to investigate effects on hip disability, pain intensity, recovery of balance and functional mobility in older adults with hip osteoarthritis and also to reduce physiotherapists' workload and help standardize treatment of hip TVT.

METHODS: In a block-randomized 3-month controlled trial involving 28 older adult participants with symptomatic primary hip osteoarthritis (SPHOA), one group (n= 10) received device-performed TVT, one (n= 10) manual TVT, and one (n= 8) sham/placebo therapy. Hip disability (Harris Hip Score), pain intensity (visual-analog-scale), recovery of balance and gait (Functional Gait Assessment) and functional mobility (Timed-Up-and-Go-test) were assessed at baseline, after 3 weeks without intervention, and after 3-month intervention.

RESULTS: The Device TVT and Manual TVT groups exhibited superior outcomes compared to the Placebo group in terms of hip disability (p= 0.005 and p< 0.001, respectively), pain intensity (p= 0.002 and p< 0.001, respectively), and functional mobility (TUG) (p= 0.012 and p= 0.011, respectively). Furthermore, the recovery of balance and gait (FGA) showed a significant improvement in the Device TVT group when compared to the Placebo group (p= 0.043). The effect sizes ranged from 0.17 to 0.51, indicating moderate to large effects.

CONCLUSION: Device-performed-TVT is comparable to manual hip-TVT for reducing pain and improving mobility in older adults with SPHOA, and may be beneficial in terms of reducing physiotherapists' workload and better therapy standardization.

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