Can physiotherapy delay hip surgery? Hip surgery, like any surgery, is a big undertaking for patients to consider. Hip surgeries can be invasive, debilitating and costly, with mixed odds of success. Some patients have no choice in the matter, for example in the case of a fracture. However, for patients that have more chronic hip issues, there are “conservative interventions” that can help to delay surgery or even avoid surgery, with physiotherapy being one of the key conservative (non-invasive) treatment options.
Can physiotherapy actually delay hip surgery?
The short answer is yes! Rachel Allen, chartered physiotherapist at Mid West Physiotherapy, has reviewed the key research papers in this area and has summarised the key findings below. (Scroll down for citations.)
- Physiotherapy has been proven to help delay the need for joint replacement surgery in some people (1).
- Exercise is recommended for all people with osteoarthritis (5).
- Although arthritis is common, not everyone with arthritis is destined to get a total hip replacement. A study on over 8,000 people with hip arthritis showed that 8 weeks of physiotherapy can improve pain levels, walking speed, the need for pain tablets (4). Large studies have also shown that people who completed physiotherapy and exercise for their hip saw improvements in pain and physical function (2,5).
- And to answer if physiotherapy can delay hip surgery, it certainly can in some cases. A 6-year long study showed that people who completed a 12-week physiotherapy programme delayed total hip replacement surgery by 2 years on average (1).
- Physiotherapy can also help you prepare for a hip surgery or replacement – getting as strong and fit as possible for the surgery will help you recover faster (2,3). We will guide you through safe and effective exercises that suit you specifically.
Can I book an appointment with you?
Yes! If you would like us to help you to alleviate hip pain/discomfort and improve your strength and stability, you can book an appointment with us online, or your can contact our Reception by ringing 061-201444 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Svege I, Nordsletten L, Fernandes L, et al Exercise therapy may postpone total hip replacement surgery in patients with hip osteoarthritis: a long-term follow-up of a randomised trial. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2015;74:164-169.
2. Gill S, McBurney H. Does Exercise Reduce Pain and Improve Physical Function Before Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2012; 91: 164-176.
3. Outcomes of total hip and knee replacement: preoperative functional status predicts outcomes at six months after surgery.
4. Roos EM, Grønne DT, Thorlund JB, Skou ST. Knee and hip osteoarthritis are more alike than different in baseline characteristics and outcomes: a longitudinal study of 32,599 patients participating in supervised education and exercise therapy. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2022 Feb 14:S1063-4584(22)00034-6. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2022.02.001. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35176479.
5. Fransen M, McConnell S, Hernandez-Molina G, Reichenbach S. Exercise for osteoarthritis of the hip. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 20