Does your hip grab when you move the wrong way?
Does your hip ache if you walk too far?
Do you feel pain in the hip or groin that radiates into your thigh?
If you answered YES to any or all of these questions you may have osteoarthritis in the hip. Read on to find out
What is Hip Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects the major joints of the body and is characterised by loss of the hard wearing cartilage that lines the ends of the bones forming a joint. OA is not just about cartilage loss—changes occur in the supporting tissues of the joint, including the capsule, ligaments, and supporting muscles. There is no cure for OA and although hip replacement surgery produces very good outcomes for most patients, there can be a number of reasons why someone you might not opt for a hip replacement. You may be too young (the replacement itself does not last forever), your symptoms may not be severe enough or you may have other medical issues that prevent you from having joint replacement surgery. In all of these situations physiotherapy can be helpful.
How do I know if I have Hip Osteorthritis?
The diagnosis of hip OA is made based on several features. The first is pain in or around the hip, often radiating down the front of the thigh, in patients over 50 years of age. An x-ray should show the hallmark features of hip OA. In addition, other causes of hip pain should be excluded—this is done by taking a careful history and if needed, ordering other tests. Remember that age-related changes are normal when we x-ray any major joint, so if you have left hip pain, your x-ray should show changes in your left hip that are different to your right hip! In physiotherapy, you should have loss of movement in your hip when we take you through some special tests. If you do NOT have any loss of movement on testing it is very unlikely that you have hip OA and we need to look at what else could be making your hip sore.
Can Physio Help Me?
Although we have no cure for osteoarthritis, it is very treatable, especially if picked up early! In some cases we are able to get rid of a patient’s pain for good; in other cases we are able to “get on top of their pain.” The main goals in physiotherapy are to restore movement in the hip joint, strengthen muscles and improve functional activities like walking. Usually the patient would see us for 4-6 visits over a 2-3 month period. Treatment usually involves specific stretches in the clinic, a home exercise program and a plan for your activities—the goal is to make you move and feel better, back to normal activities.
What Should I do Next?
If you are struggling with hip pain and you identify with the symptoms and problems described above, there’s 3
things you can do:
1. Nothing … Not recommended! As with most things in life, if we have a problem and do nothing, the best we can hope for is more of the same. In reality, when we are dealing with the human body, things often worsen over time when we ignore them.
2. Book an appointment to see one of the great physio’s at Personal Best to see if we CAN help you. If we believe we can help you, we will outline a plan of treatment and see if you want to go through with it.
3. If you’re really unsure about whether we can help, call Mary and register for a phone call with one of our physio’s—we will call you back when we have some free time and have a quick chat to you over the phone about what is going on for you and then tell you what the next step should be for you.
To Your Better Health,
The Team at Personal Best