Similar to knee osteoarthritis, hip osteoarthritis is a chronic joint condition characterised by a loss of the articular cartilage responsible for the smooth gliding of the ball and socket hip joint. As the capsule around the joint tightens, which it does in more than 40% of those with hip osteoarthritis, the space between the ball and socket is reduced, causing an increase in the compression of the hip joint. Bony outgrowths around the margins of the joint typically develop over time and become visible on x-ray.
Stiffness of the joint develops and pain and weakness begin to accompany this gradual loss of joint motion. With specific muscles more susceptible to weakness, their opposing muscles continue to contract, leading to an imbalance in the loading of the hip joint and bringing with it pain, a cardinal feature of hip osteoarthritis. Pain also further inhibits the muscles that stabilise the joint, leading to a vicious cycle of weakness, joint loading imbalances and discomfort with everyday tasks such as walking, stair climbing and housekeeping. It has been recently identified that those with hip or knee osteoarthritis who also have other regions of joint pain had less favourable health status, and this could explain why some people had disappointing results in treating their problems (Hoogeboom et al., 2012; Suri et al., 2010)
These findings reinforce our values and thinking at KneeCare. We have always recognised that the person needs to be treated as a whole, and all facets of their health and wellbeing need to be considered. It may seem plainly obvious to the individual that their sore hip and sore back are both important, but often clinicians seem unable or unwilling to consider both.
There is no cure for hip osteoarthritis. The primary goal of treatment in patients with this condition is to remain as active as possible in order to maintain strength and mobility and to avoid deterioration, without aggravating symptoms. Treatment is directed at improving hip range of movement and strength, reducing pain, and restoring normal function. Exercise plays a key role in management and should be individualised for each patient in order to optimise treatment outcomes (Bennell & Hinman 2011; Escalante et al. 2010). Manual therapy techniques from your KneeCare provider have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain and improving function in people with hip osteoarthritis (Hoeksma et al., 2004).
If you have hip problems KneeCare has the knowledge and technical skills to help you with reducing pain, and staying active. Come and have a chat, you have nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain.