Association between physical activity and short-term physical function changes after hip fracture: An observational study

Nicholas F. Taylor, Casey L. Peiris, Anne L. Thompson, Luke A. Prendergast, Katherine E. Harding, Raphael Hau, Nora Shields

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Background and Purpose: To investigate whether physical activity levels are predictive of short-term changes in physical function for people discharged to independent living in the community following withdrawal of rehabilitation services after hip fracture; and to describe short-term recovery in physical activity, physical function, walking confidence, health-related quality of life and walking participation. Methods: This prospective cohort study comprised 57 older adults (39 females, mean age 80.4, SD 8.4 years) living independently in the community after hip fracture. Accelerometer-based physical activity, physical function (Functional Independence Measure [FIM], de Morton Mobility Index, Frenchay Activities Index and Participation in outdoor walking), walking confidence and health-related quality of life were measured after discharge from rehabilitation services (baseline) and 12 weeks later. Multiple linear regression analyses determined the ability of physical activity (daily steps), walking self-confidence, health-related quality of life and demographic factors (age, sex and time since fracture) to predict Week 12 physical function using Week 0 physical function as a covariate. Results: Participants at baseline averaged 4439 daily steps which did not change 12 weeks later. There were small increases in all measures of physical function and walking confidence, but not health-related quality of life. Increased walking self-confidence was associated with an increase in FIM total, FIM mobility and de Morton Index scores. Physical activity did not predict change in measures of physical function. Conclusions: Walking confidence of adults discharged from rehabilitation services after hip fracture had a greater association with short-term recovery of physical function than level of physical activity. Community-dwelling adults continue to make small short-term improvements in physical function and walking confidence after discharge home and withdrawal of rehabilitation services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1876
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiotherapy Research International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • exercise
  • hip fractures
  • mobility limitation
  • recovery of function

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