AIM: To investigate the feasibility of a 6-wk progressive strength-training programme commenced shortly after hip fracture surgery in community-dwelling patients.
METHODS: This prospective, single-blinded cohort study evaluated 31 community-dwelling patients from four outpatient geriatric health centres aged 60 years or older, who started a 6-wk programme at a mean of 17.5 ± 5.7 d after hip fracture surgery. The intervention consisted primarily of progressive fractured knee-extension and bilateral leg press strength training (twice weekly), with relative loads commencing at 15 and increasing to 10 repetitions maximum (RM), with three sets in each session. The main measurements included progression in weight loads, hip fracture-related pain during training, maximal isometric knee-extension strength, new mobility score, the timed up and go test, the 6-min walk test and the 10-meter fast speed walk test, assessed before and after the programme.
RESULTS: Weight loads in kilograms in the fractured limb knee-extension strength training increased from 3.3 ± 1.5 to 5.7 ± 1.7 and from 6.8 ± 2.4 to 7.7 ± 2.6, respectively, in the first and last 2 wk (P < 0.001). Correspondingly, the weight loads increased from 50.3 ± 1.9 to 90.8 ± 40 kg and from 108.9 ± 47.7 to 121.9 ± 54 kg in the bilateral leg press exercise (P < 0.001). Hip fracture-related pain was reduced, and large improvements were observed in the functional outcome measurements, e.g., the 6-min walk test improved from 200.6 ± 79.5 to 322.8 ± 68.5 m (P < 0.001). The fractured limb knee-extension strength deficit was reduced from 40% to 17%, compared with the non-fractured limb. Ten patients reported knee pain as a minor restricting factor during the last 10 RM knee-extension strength-training sessions, but with no significant influences on performance.
CONCLUSION: Progressive strength training, initiated shortly after hip fracture surgery, seems feasible and does not increase hip fracture-related pain. Progressive strength training resulted in improvement, although a strength deficit of 17% persisted in the fractured limb compared with the non-fractured limb.