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Hip Osteoarthritis

So you’ve been told by a health professional that you have osteoarthritis in your hip and you’re unsure of what to do next? Continue reading for my tips on how to manage your sore and stiff hip, and how to prolong a total hip replacement surgery.

What exactly is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition where the joint begins to degenerate as a result of mechanical overload. OA can develop as a result of many different factors including the shape and structure of the ball and socket joint, trauma, obesity and loads placed on the hip throughout the lift time (just to name a few). These factors can lead to changes in the cartilage surrounding the bone surfaces in the hip and the joint capsule.

So how can physio help?

Initially your physio can help diagnose the hip joint pathology. From here they can help provide a specific exercise program aimed at improving strength and mobility of the hip joint, in turn improving function of the joint. They can also help provide advice on strategies to relieve pain.

See below my top tips to help manage hip OA:

  1. Avoid catastrophising/negative thoughts and beliefs

Before your mind spirals out of control, with thoughts like - I’m going to need a hip replacement, my hips damaged and broken, exercising is damaging my hip, its important to understand that these statements are not necessarily true, in fact quite the opposite. Current evidence suggests that the best management to prolong a hip replacement is strengthening and mobility work.

2. Work on hip mobility

Regular hip mobility exercises are an important way to prevent loss of joint range and function. Ideally these exercises are performed daily.

3. Work on strength in muscles surrounding the hip

Strengthening exercises are also extremely important to help improve functional movement patterns and muscles imbalances around the hip. Your physio will be able to help you identify and strength or flexibility deficits you have that may be contributing to the pain you are experiencing.

4. Be consistent

In order to see long term results it's important to be completing mobility and strength exercises regularly. Mobility exercises should be performed daily, while strength exercises should be performed 2-3 times a week. This allows the muscles significant recovery time in order to see gains.

5. Stay active, eat nutritious foods - avoid weight gain

And finally, as always - stay active, eat well, and think about ways in which you can improve your general overall health and well being. Whether this be increasing your sleep hours or going for a daily walk, taking care of your mind and body will help see improvements in chronic pain and stiffness as with hip OA.

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