Quicker therapy after hip surgery improves mobility

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Seniors become more mobile two months after hip surgery if they start physical therapy immediately after the procedure rather than waiting, according to a new study. The results are a clear indication that good pain management is needed after surgery so that therapy can begin quickly, and continue uninterrupted, researchers say.

"Each additional session from the day of surgery through the third post-operative day was associated with an increase of about 0.4 points on the 14-point locomotion scale at 2 months," wrote Dr. Joan D. Penrod, from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, along with colleagues who reported on their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Penrod's group studied the differences between starting therapy right away and later at two-month and six-month measuring points. The benefits from the more immediate therapy were less prevalent at six months than at the two-month mark.

Study subjects were 443 hip-fracture surgery patients averaging 81 years in age.

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