Hip Osteoarthritis blogSep 12, 2022
What is hip osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a condition denoted by inflammation of the joints and degeneration of the cartilage. Some people may not experience symptoms however a majority of people experience pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. The hip joint is a commonly affected joint which can make walking, stair climbing and driving painful.
Who does it commonly affect?
Hip osteoarthritis is commonly seen in people over 50 years of age and more common in women. Risk factors for hip osteoarthritis including excessive weight, joint injury, repetitive and prolonged kneeling and squatting, and genetic factors. Australia has one of the highest rates of hip osteoarthritis in the world and trends show this has increased in the last 30 years.
What are the symptoms?
People with osteoarthritis usually experience:
- Pain: Generally experienced in the groin, gluteals, thigh and in some people may radiate to the knee and ankle. Pain usually develops progressively over weeks and months but may come and go. You may find it is worse at the end of the day.
- Stiffness: The hip joint may get stiff due to changes in the cartilage and joint space. It can make daily activities difficult such as getting out of bed, sitting for long periods in a lower chair and walking. Sometimes bone spurs may form causing “locking” of the hip temporarily.
- Noisy hips: In more progressed hip osteoarthritis the joint surfaces may become rough leading to grinding, clicking, and creaking noises. This does not cause pain in all people however may feel uncomfortable. Weak hip muscles place additional stress on the hip joint that may increase the noisiness of the hip joint.
How can you manage it?
Osteoarthritis is a progressive and degenerative condition meaning it cannot be reversed however symptoms can be managed and improved. Non-drug related treatments include heat pack, topical creams and massage. Shown to be highly effective in managing hip osteoarthritis pain is addressing lifestyle factors and modifiable risk factors. These include improving diet, increasing activity levels as tolerated and reducing excessive weight. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories or pain relief medication to assist in managing symptoms. In severe circumstances a joint replacement operation may be suggested to improve function and pain.
Who can assist?
If you are diagnosed with hip osteoarthritis you may seek assistance from a qualified exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for exercises, stretches and advice to improve your symptoms. Macarthur Physiotherapy are staffed with friendly and experienced physiotherapists and an exercise physiologist to assess and provide solutions to helping you live a happier and healthier life. They will complete a thorough medical screening and assessment and work with you to create a plan to achieve your goals.
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