The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of exercise therapy added to general practitioner (GP) care compared with GP care alone, in patients with hip osteoarthritis (OA) during 12 months follow-up. A multi-center parallel pragmatic randomized controlled trial in 120 general practices in the Netherlands was performed. 203 patients, aged ≥45 years, with a new episode of hip complaints, complying with the ACR criteria for hip OA were randomized to the intervention group (n = 101; GP care with additional exercise therapy) or the control group (n = 102; GP care only). The intervention group received, in addition, a maximum of 12 exercise therapy sessions in the first 3 months and hereafter three booster sessions. Primary outcomes were hip pain and hip-related function measured with the HOOS questionnaire (score 0-100). The overall estimates on hip pain and function during the 12-month follow-up showed no between-group difference (intention-to-treat). At 3-months follow-up there was a statistically significant between-group difference for HOOS pain and HOOS function. No adverse events were reported.
The authors conclude that no differences were found during 12-months follow-up on pain and function. At 3-months follow-up, pain and function scores differed in favor of patients allocated to the additional exercise therapy compared with GP care alone.