What is the purpose of the STEP-HI Study? 

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Many older women do not recover fully after a hip fracture even after they receive rehabilitation services and physical therapy. They often have ongoing muscle weakness and problems with mobility.  This may partially be related to low levels of testosterone (a hormone present in men and women) in the body.

The STEP-HI study is evaluating whether 6 months of testosterone gel therapy combined with resistance (weight) training exercises can improve physical function after a hip fracture more effectively than resistance training alone, or Enhanced Usual Care with home-based exercise.

Testosterone skin gel is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to increase testosterone levels in men who do not produce enough of the hormone naturally. Older women can also have testosterone deficiency but there is not as much information available about the potential benefits of testosterone therapy as for older men.  In this study testosterone gel therapy is investigational and is being compared to a placebo, which is an inactive substance containing no active study drug.

Frequently asked questions

How long will I be in the study?

Study interventions occur for 6 months. Some research testing is conducted before and after the intervention period.

What are the study groups?

There are 3 study groups. If you are eligible you will be assigned to a group randomly:

  1. Enhanced Usual Care (home exercise)
  2. Supervised Exercise at the research center + inactive skin gel
  3. Supervised Exercise at the research center + testosterone skin gel
In addition to exercise and study gel, what do study participants receive?
  • Exams and laboratory testing
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Vitamin D and Calcium supplements
  • Transportation to all study visits

If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about the STEP-HI Study, please contact the study coordinator at a site near you:

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Amy Young
Phone: 314-273-0338
Email: amyyoung@wustl.edu

University of Texas Medical Branch of Galveston
Eloisa Martinez
Phone: 409-266-9643
Email: esmartin@utmb.edu

University of Connecticut Health – Farmington
Heather McAbee-Sevick, MS
Phone: 860-679-6115
Email: mcabeesevick@uchc.edu

Hebrew SeniorLife – Boston
Mary Vierling
Phone: 617-971-5312
Email: mvierling@hsl.harvard.edu

University of Utah Health – Salt Lake City
Nick Knight
Phone: 480-298-5836
Email: nick.knight@utah.edu

University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh
Christine McDonough
Phone: 412-383-4603
Email: CMM295@pitt.edu