The addition of therapeutic ultrasound to traditional physical therapy showed a longitudinal positive effect on pain, functional status, and physical quality of life (QoL) in patients with hip osteoarthritis, say authors of an article published in the December 2010 issue of Clinical Rheumatology.
Twelve male and 33 female patients (mean age, 65.3 ± 6.7 years; mean disease duration, 2.5 ± 1.7 years) with primary hip osteoarthritis were enrolled in this 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). There were 15 patients in each group. 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 1st and 3rd months.
There were no differences between the groups regarding demographic variables on entry to the study. 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 were maintained at the end of the 1st and 3rd months only in group III. The physical subscores of SF-36 were improved at the end of the 1st month and were maintained at the end of the 3rd month only in patients receiving additional ultrasound therapy (group III), while mental subscores of SF-36 did not change significantly in any group.