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Inpatient rehabilitation for hip or knee osteoarthritis: 2 year follow up study
  1. M Weigl1,
  2. F Angst2,
  3. G Stucki1,
  4. S Lehmann2,
  5. A Aeschlimann2
  1. 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Munich, Germany
  2. 2Rehaclinic Zurzach, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor G Stucki
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Munich, Germany;


Objective: To examine the course of pain, physical function, and other health dimensions after a comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation intervention in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip or knee.

Methods: An observational, prospective cohort study with assessments at baseline (entry into clinic), 1 (discharge from inpatient rehabilitation), 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 months after baseline. Consecutively referred patients to an inpatient rehabilitation centre fulfilling the inclusion criteria were studied. 3–4 week comprehensive rehabilitation intervention, including strengthening exercise, flexibility training, endurance training, relaxation strategies, and consultations for preventive measures, was carried out. Individual home rehabilitation programmes were taught. Generic health status was measured using the SF-36, condition specific health was measured with the WOMAC questionnaire. Effects were analysed with sensitivity statistics (effect size, ES) and non-parametric tests.

Results: Data from 128 patients with complete follow up data were analysed. Both pain and physical function improved moderately (WOMAC pain: ES = 0.56, WOMAC function ES = 0.44) until discharge. Although the effect in pain reduction remained significant by month 24 (WOMAC: ES = 0.26), physical function deteriorated close to baseline values after 12 months.

Conclusions: Comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation of patients with OA of the hip or knee may improve pain and physical function in the mid-term, and pain in the long term.

  • follow up study
  • osteoarthritis
  • rehabilitation
  • SF-36
  • DALYs, disability adjusted life years
  • ES, effect size
  • MCID, minimal clinically important difference
  • NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • OA, osteoarthritis
  • SDD, smallest detectable difference
  • SF-36, Short Form-36, WOMAC, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index
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