This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (22 APR 2014)

Intervention Review

Exercise for osteoarthritis of the hip

  1. Marlene Fransen1,*,
  2. Sara McConnell2,
  3. Gabriela Hernandez-Molina3,
  4. Stephan Reichenbach4

Editorial Group: Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group

Published Online: 8 JUL 2009

Assessed as up-to-date: 18 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007912

How to Cite

Fransen M, McConnell S, Hernandez-Molina G, Reichenbach S. Exercise for osteoarthritis of the hip. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD007912. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007912.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Sydney, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  2. 2

    St Joseph's Health Care Centre, Department of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  3. 3

    Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Immunology and Rheumatology, Mexico city, Mexico

  4. 4

    University Hospital, Department for Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology, and Allergology, Bern, Switzerland

*Marlene Fransen, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Room 0212, Cumberland Campus C42, Sydney, New South Wales, 1825, Australia.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: New
  2. Published Online: 8 JUL 2009


This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (22 APR 2014)



  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary


Current international treatment guidelines recommending therapeutic exercise for people with symptomatic hip OA report are based on expert opinion only.


To determine whether land-based therapeutic exercise is beneficial for people with hip OA in terms of reduced joint pain and/or improved physical function.

Search methods

Five databases were searched from 1966 up until August 2008.

Selection criteria

All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) recruiting people with hip OA and comparing some form of land-based therapeutic exercise (as opposed to exercises conducted in the water) with a non-exercise group.

Data collection and analysis

Three reviewers independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality. All analyses were conducted on continuous outcomes.

Main results

Combining the results of the five included RCTs demonstrated a small treatment effect for pain, but no benefit in terms of improved self-reported physical function.
Only one of these five RCTs exclusively recruited people with symptomatic hip OA.

Authors' conclusions

The limited number and small sample size of the included RCTs restricts the confidence that can be attributed to these results. Adequately powered RCTs evaluating exercise programs specifically designed for people with symptomatic hip OA need to be conducted.


Plain language summary

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary

Exercise for osteoarthritis of the hip

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of exercise for people with osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip.

The review shows that in people with hip OA, exercise

-May reduce pain slightly

-May not improve physical function.

What is OA of the hip and what is exercise?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of the joints, such as your hip. When the joint loses cartilage, the bone grows to try and repair the damage. Instead of making things better, however, the bone grows abnormally and makes things worse. For example, the bone can become misshapen and make the joint painful and unstable.  Doctors used to think that osteoarthritis simply resulted in thinning of the cartilage. However, it's now known that osteoarthritis is a disease of the whole joint.

OA is one of the most common forms of arthritis and affects men and women equally. OA is one of the main causes of disability as people grow older.

Exercise can be any activity that enhances or maintains muscle strength, physical fitness and overall health. People exercise for many different reasons including weight loss, strengthening muscles and to relieve the symptoms of OA.