Hip Osteoarthritis

Hip osteoarthritis is a condition that can cause stiffness that limits joint range of motion. Over time, certain hip movements become limited, usually causing pain and alteration of normal biomechanics. Your muscles must therefore work harder during movement, generating a feeling of muscle tension.To date, the exact causes of osteoarthritis have not been fully identified. It is completely normal to have a mild level of osteoarthritis with age. However, the more advanced stages of osteoarthritis can affect the ability to carry out daily and physical activities. An exacerbation of symptoms usually occurs during a period when the level of physical activity has been drastically increased. Direct trauma to the hip can increase the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

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Structures involved

At the hip, the joint affected by osteoarthritis is the ​acetabulofemoral joint,​ formed by the p​ elvic ​bone and the ​femur​ bone. It is mainly cartilage damage combined with the presence, in some cases, of slight bone spurs in the joint that appear to be responsible for the restriction of movement. Over time, some muscles in the hip area may become tighter to compensate for the joint restriction.

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Signs & Symptoms that you may experience

Each person will react differently to osteoarthritis and management will depend on its stage. Hip osteoarthritis can produce, but is not limited to, local pain in the groin area, edema and stiffness in certain hip movements. Repetitive hip movements during walking or other sports activities, prolonged standing and sleeping with direct pressure may cause pain.

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Developments

Osteoarthritis of the hip is a progressive condition that cannot be cured, which means that the range of motion may decrease over time. An active lifestyle and a rehabilitation plan may however slow the progression of this condition and make it easier to manage the symptoms.1
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▶​ ​WHAT TO DO

Painful episodes

Relative rest is a good way to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. A few days of rest while reducing activities that cause significant pain​ m​ ay be necessary, but it is very important to avoid deconditioning. A quick return to your daily activities, light cardiovascular exercises that do not cause an increase in pain, joint mobilization exercises and hip muscles strengthening exercises will allow for better recovery.

Rehabilitation

Follow your therapist’s advice. This will help you manage the various stages of the healing process and increase the odds of success. Your therapist will accompany you during your rehabilitation program in order to improve your hip joint range of motion, regain flexibility, muscle strength and endurance, and functional state.

According to the principles of hip osteoarthritis rehabilitation, improving joint range of motion should be an integral part of the treatment plan. A program to improve joint range of motion and flexibility, as well as specific muscle strengthening is common to control the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis.

▶ ​WHAT TO AVOID

Do not rely solely on a passive treatment approach. Each phase of the rehabilitation process is important. Patients who actively participate in their treatment plan tend to recover more quickly. Keep in mind that pain is not always a good indicator of joint or tissue damage. A significant level of pain does not necessarily imply a more advanced stage. As soon as you feel better and the pain is well under control, introduce, in collaboration with your therapist, light mobility and strengthening exercises based on your tolerance. Remember that exercise is an excellent way to manage pain associated with osteoarthritis.

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