Hip Arthritis

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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.

Becoming a Couch Potato Won’t Save Your Hipimage

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 92868

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Caring for Arthritic Joints

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Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. This degenerative joint disease is a chronic condition characterized  by the breakdown of joint cartilage, leading to bones rubbing against each other. Typically, it affects the ‘bigger’ joints in the body, like the hip, knee, shoulder, even the spine. This leads to progressive stiffness, inflammation, pain and loss of mobility in the joint.image

Many people think that exercising with osteoarthritis is difficult, even impossible, because of the pain. The truth is that an arthritic joint needs to get nutrition, and there is no better way to provide joints their nutrients than movement itself. Exercise is actually beneficial for those with osteoarthritis, but there are some things to remember.

  • Exercise will help you feel better, reduce pain, and improve your ability to do daily activities if done regularly.
  • A common symptom is pain after activity, which may make you reluctant to exercise. However, you can help relieve pain with heat or ice to stay active.
  • Ice is a great drug-free pain reliever. It helps decrease joint swelling and pain. If your joint hurts, apply ice for 15 minutes. If you don’t have a cold pack, you can buy one from our office or a bag of frozen vegetables (like peas) will do the trick.
  • Exercise should be balanced with rest and joint care. If your joints hurt or you notice redness or swelling, rest your joints, then try a little exercise.
  • Sharp or unusual pain may be a sign of injury. Talk to your physical therapist or health professional if you have new or more intense pain.
  • Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Joints and muscles need to be exercised to prevent stiffness and weakness. Also, exercise will make you feel better and help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess body weight places extra force and pressure on arthritic joints, which helps osteoarthritis progress more rapidly.

Why Should I Exercise?

Here’s what happens without exercise. Less movement means more stiffness in your joints, making your osteoarthritis progress faster. Research suggests that if your joint is unusually loose or does not line up normally, some exercises may hurt more than help your joints. Your physical therapist is the right professional to help you determine what exercise is best for you.image

Stretching and strengthening exercises will help prevent
associated stiffness and reduce stress on the joint.
For example, strong thigh muscles will minimize some of the stress off the weight-bearing joints of the knee and hips.

Exercise for people with osteoarthritis can help to:

  • Improve joint function and movement
  • Possibly delay or prevent the need for surgery. (For example, the need for knee replacements due to severe knee osteoarthritis)
  • Improve strength, posture and balance in older adults, reducing the risk of falls.

Spring Into Group Exercise!

Exercising with a friend, or in a group is a lot easier than exercising alone. People with osteoarthritis who exercise in groups have less pain, less depression, and better joint mobility.

Here are 4 tips to keep your joints healthy:

  • Watch your weight. That’s the best thing you can do for your joints. Research shows that with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees.
  • Strong muscles cushion your joints. If your muscles
    are weak, your joints take the beating, especially your
    knees, which support your entire body weight. Talk to
    your therapist before starting any exercise on your own.image
    You don’t want to strain the very joint you are trying to
  • Low-impact exercises like biking and swimming are great for arthritic hips and knees, but this varies from one person to another.
  • Find out what exercises are safe for your joints. Research shows that those who participate in a home exercise program and also attend an exercise class have better gains in function. So if you don’t know what exercises are right for you, call us today to see what’s best for your joints! We can help you spring into action!

Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, Orange County, CA 92868

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