There’s Nothing Hip About It
Hip arthritis generally results from osteoarthritis, or “wearand-
tear” arthritis. In a nutshell, osteoarthritis progressively wears away the cartilage of the joint it affects. Without cartilage in the joint to make movements smoother, the hip bones begin to grind and cause pain. Hip arthritis is typically found in individuals who are:
- Over 50 years old
- Overweight – in fact, weight loss has a tendency to lessen the symptoms of hip arthritis.
- Genetics – if the condition runs in your family, your chances of developing it are much greater.
- Trauma – injuries to the hip, including fractures, can increase risk.
There’s no way to tell for sure who will develop hip arthritis, but there are a few measures you can take to avoid this debilitating condition:
- Lose weight. More weight = more compression on all joints. Weight loss can dramatically decrease symptoms. Seek the help of your physical therapist. We can teach you exercises to better distribute the pressure on your joints from everyday movements.
- Modify your activities. Limit activities that are painful. Continue with ones that are not. Aquatic exercise is a great option to perform exercises without increasing joint compression. Use walking aids. We can show you the right way to use a cane/crutch to help alleviate your pain.
- Ask your doctor about trying anti-inflammatory medications.
- In severe cases, you may need to talk to your doctor about hip replacement surgery.
As soon as you start feeling the symptoms of hip arthritis, including limited range of motion, joints stiffness, and pain in the hip area, see your doctor. If you receive a diagnosis of hip arthritis, following the steps outlined above. The goal is to avoid a hip replacement surgery, which should always be your last resort. Our well trained staff will help you make the most of your
condition so you can carry out your day to day activities with less pain.
It’s a common misconception that less activity (being sedentary) will “save” your hip from further decay. On the contrary, medical experts recommend that you remain as active as your comfort level will allow.You certainly don’t want to force activities that will result in more pain down the road.
If you or a loved one have any hip discomfort, it is IMPERATIVE that you consult our staff right away for recommendations on exercises and activities that will be right for your condition.
The Importance of Heat and Stretching
Before exercising, use heat to loosen the muscles in preparation for stretching exercises. The best method is a warm shower or bath for 10-15 minutes. You can also use a heating pad or a towel warmed in the microwave, but remember, warm heat gets into the joint better than dry heat! Then, STRETCH daily! Some common stretching we recommend include:
- Knee-to-chest pulls. Start in a comfortable position lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest and hold it with your hands for 10 seconds. Do not bounce. Lower your leg and repeat the process with the other leg. Repeat the sequence 5 times.
- Hamstring stretch. Lie on your back in a doorway, with one leg through the open door. Slide your leg up the wall to straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down
the back of your leg. Hold it for 10 seconds. Be careful to not arch your back, or bend either knee. Remember to keep one heel touching the floor and the other heel touching the wall. Do not point your toes. Repeat with your other leg.
Physical therapy is a critical step in the management of pain associated with hip arthritis. We will work with you to create a treatment plan that includes exercise and other specialized techniques to relieve your pain.
Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center
1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1
Orange, Orange County, CA 92868by