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Strength training 'helps hip fracture recovery'

A lengthy programme of supervised weekly strength training can help improve long-term recovery in older hip fracture patients who live at home, say researchers.

An initial 12-week trial of twice-weekly exercise classes plus at home strength training had already been shown to have benefit in strength, balance and physical function. But an extended programme of another 12 weeks of once-weekly exercise plus once-weekly home training guided by a physiotherapist showed significant further improvements.

The 47 patients in the study who received the 24 weeks of training walked an additional 130.2 metres in six minutes compared with an extra 58.6m for the control group of 48 patients on the 12-week programme.

Similarly, timed up-and-go test results were 7.7s faster for those on the long programme compared with 2.6s faster for those on the shorter course.

Lead author Hilde Sylliaas, a physiotherapist at Oslo University Hospital in Norway, said: ‘Hip fracture patients seem to constitute a group that needs long-term follow-up to achieve the improvements necessary for independent functioning.'

Age and Ageing published online 23 December, 2011

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