, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 1387-1394

The effect of additional therapeutic ultrasound in patients with primary hip osteoarthritis: a randomized placebo-controlled study

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Abstract

To the best of our knowledge, there is no study in the English literature about the usefulness of ultrasound therapy in degenerative hip osteoarthritis. The aim of this study was to examine its short- and long-term efficacy in patients with primary hip osteoarthritis with regard to pain, functional status, and quality of life (QoL). Forty-five patients with primary hip osteoarthritis were enrolled into the study. Demographic and clinical characteristics including age, sex, duration of disease, and pain on activity and at rest using visual analogue scale (VAS) were recorded. Functional status was determined by a 15-m timed walking test and Western Ontario McMaster Osteoarthritis Questionnaire. QoL was determined by the Short Form-36 survey (SF-36). Each patient was randomly assigned to either group I (standard physical therapy including hot pack and exercise program), group II (sham ultrasound in addition to standard physical therapy), or group III (ultrasound and standard physical therapy). The main outcome measures of the treatment were pain intensity by VAS; functional status measurements that were evaluated at baseline, at the end of the therapies, and at the first and third month of follow-up; and QoL scores that were determined at baseline and at the end of the first and third months. Twelve male and 33 female patients (mean age, 65.3 ± 6.7 years; mean disease duration, 2.5 ± 1.7 years) were included in the study. There were no differences between the groups regarding demographic variables on entry to the study. There were 15 patients in each group. Pain and functional outcome measures were determined to have improved significantly in all of the groups at the end of the therapies, but these improvements continued at the end of the first and third months only in group III (p < 0.001) The physical subscores of SF-36 were improved at the end of the first month and were maintained at the end of the third month only in patients receiving additional ultrasound therapy (group III, p < 0.001), while mental subscores of SF-36 did not change significantly in any group. In conclusion, addition of therapeutic ultrasound to the traditional physical therapy showed a longitudinal positive effect on pain, functional status, and physical QoL in patients with hip osteoarthritis. The use of therapeutic ultrasound in the treatment of hip osteoarthritis should be encouraged, and it seems worthy to continue with large clinical trials on ultrasound in order to standardize the treatment modality in this patient group.