Hip study to improve lives

A new study by La Trobe University aims to improve the quality of life for older people with hip osteoarthritis with targeted rehabilitation programs that may even avoid the need for hip replacement surgery. 

It is hoped tha this study will improve the lives of those with osteoarthritisAssociate Professor in Human Anatomy and lead researcher, Dr Rodney Green says that this is the first study to look at changes in the key hip stabilising muscles in people with hip osteoarthritis using intramuscular electromyography techniques.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the hip and knee and is a major cause of morbidity.  

Dr Green said the condition affects 1.6 million Australians predominantly aged over 55 years and this would increase health expenditure owing to an ageing population and increasing life expectancy levels.

‘Rehabilitation exercise management is considered to be an efficacious, safe and low cost rehabilitation treatment,’ says Dr Green. ‘However, there is little evidence regarding the benefits of rehabilitation programs for hip osteoarthritis patients.  

‘An improved understanding of these muscles may lead to better rehabilitation programs. This would improve the functioning of these key muscles thereby improving the quality of life for older people. It could also delay hip replacement surgery.’

A call for research participants

The research team is inviting members of the community aged 50 or over with normal hip function to act as a baseline for the study.

Dr Green said the first part of this study will compare hip osteoarthritis patients to a normal cohort of participants to better understand the changes in structure and function in key hip stabiliser muscles between them and patients with osteoarthritis in their hip.

The second part of the study aims to look at present rehabilitation programs and the changes seen in structure and function of these key hip stabilising muscles.

Participants will have a series of tests related to hip muscle structure and function. Interested members of the community who are aged 50 or over and have normal hip function are asked to contact Anita Zacharias from the La Trobe Rural Health School on 5444 7542 or a.zacharias@latrobe.edu.au for further information.  


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