Reduced muscle strength, muscle atrophy and impaired functional performance generally persist for a long period after total hip arthroplasty (THA). The goal of this study was to examine the effects of weight–bearing (WB) and non–weight–bearing (NWB) exercise on Harris hip score (HHS), muscle strength, muscle thickness and functional performance in women after THA. Sixty–five women who had undergone unilateral or bilateral THA were randomly allocated to the following groups: WB (n = 22), NWB (n = 21) and control (n = 22) groups. Participants in the WB and NWB groups performed daily home exercise programs for 8 weeks. HHS, isometric muscle strength of the hip and knee muscle, gluteus and quadriceps muscle thickness and functional performance (timed up and go, sit–to–stand, stair climbing, walking speed and 3–min walk test) were measured at baseline and after 8 weeks. An intention–to–treat analysis revealed that in terms of HHS only the WB group showed significantly greater improvement compared with the control group. Relative to the control group, improvements in all isometric strength measures were observed in both the intervention groups. Significant improvement in quadriceps muscle thickness was seen in the WB group compared with the control group. However, no significant difference was observed among the three groups in pre-post changes in gluteus muscle thickness. Compared with the control group, both the intervention groups exhibited significant improvements in almost all functional performance measures. Furthermore, the WB group showed significantly greater pre-post changes in the sit–to–stand and 3–min walk test compared with the NWB group. WB and NWB home exercise programs were both effective for improving muscle strength and functional performance in women after THA. However, the WB exercise was more effective than the NWB exercise for improving sit–to–stand ability and walking endurance. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT:.
This study demonstrated that the WB exercise was more effective than the NWB exercise for improving functional performance in patients after THA.