Hip replacement surgery improves biomechanics and symptoms not physical activity, opine researchers

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According to clinical evidence, total hip arthroplasty results in significant reduction of pain and other symptoms and improvement in step biomechanics. However, these improvements do not help with increased levels of physical activity, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

This presents a worrisome picture for patients undergoing the surgery. “While patients have the opportunity to increase their physical activity by means of improvements in functional capacity, the physical behaviors do not change,” stated the lead researcher of the study. This calls for additional efforts to help patients up their levels of physical activity following total hip arthroplasty, infer the researchers.

For the study, the researchers examined 51 patients with an average age of 66 years who underwent total hip arthroplasty at a public hospital. The surgical technique and implant type for procedures were same. In fact, prior to the procedure, data recorded for several patient-reported domains, including function, quality of life, and hip-related symptoms.

Additionally, patients underwent musculoskeletal modeling and gait analysis for in-depth analysis of biomechanics and overall performance of walking. The patients also completed 24-hour monitoring of physical activity using a wrist-worn activity tracker. Meanwhile, for a subgroup among the patients under observation, activity monitoring and gait analysis repeated at one year and two years post surgery.

For follow up at both times, patients reported improvement in pain, hip function, other hip-related symptoms, and everyday quality of life. Besides this, the gait analysis showed every aspect of walking biomechanics improved improvement, including step length and walking speed.

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