Structured exercise improves mobility after hip fracture: a meta-analysis with meta-regression

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To determine the effect of structured exercise on overall mobility in people after hip fracture. To explore associations between trial-level characteristics and overall mobility.


Systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression.

Data sources

MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database to May 2014.

Study eligibility criteria, participants and interventions

Randomised controlled trials of structured exercise, which aimed to improve mobility compared with a control intervention in adult participants after surgery for hip fracture were included.

Data extraction and synthesis

Data were extracted by one investigator and checked by an independent investigator. Standardised mean differences (SMD) of overall mobility were meta-analysed using random effects models. Random effects meta-regression was used to explore associations between trial-level characteristics and overall mobility.


13 trials included in the meta-analysis involved 1903 participants. The pooled Hedges’ g SMD for overall mobility was 0.35 (95% CI 0.12 to 0.58, p=0.002) in favour of the intervention. Meta-regression showed greater treatment effects in trials that included progressive resistance exercise (change in SMD=0.58, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.98, p=0.008, adjusted R2=60%) and delivered interventions in settings other than hospital alone (change in SMD=0.50, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.93, p=0.024, adjusted R2=49%).

Conclusions and implications

Structured exercise produced small improvements on overall mobility after hip fracture. Interventions that included progressive resistance training and were delivered in other settings were more effective, although the latter may have been confounded by duration of interventions.

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