What to do When You Have Hip Pain!
Hip Osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common condition that occurs between the ball and socket joint of the hip.
The term Osteoarthritis can be broken down into the word segments “Osteo” (Bone), “arth” (joint) and “itis” (inflammation).
This hip joint is very important as without it you wouldn’t be able to walk, sit or stand!
Many Hip O.A sufferers will show pain in the above area
Factors in Developing Hip O.A
There are many factors, some known and some unknown in the development of hip O.A.
Some people have a hereditary link, in other words “it runs in the family”.
Others may have to use the hip a lot every day, resulting in the joint potentially being put under a lot of load and stress. For some it just happens, as O.A is just a part of life as a moving human being.
Here is a list of some of the other risk factors for Hip OA:
- Previous Hip Injury
- History of High Impact Trauma to the Hip e.g. hip fractures through the joint or a fracture near the hip socket
- Older than 45 🙁
- Females often are more predisposed to hip O.A. But just because your males doesn’t mean you won’t get it.
- Overweight with poor lifestyle choices
- Genetically predisposed
What Happens to Cause Pain in the Arthritic Hip!
The cartilage, which is a protective layer over the hip bone acts as a nice smooth surface for two joints to move with each other and also as a “cushion” against loads and forces when we move.
As we age, for some this happens early in life, this cartilage layer is often affected and worn.
This exposes parts of the subcondral bone (bone underneath the cartilage) to becoming irritated and inflamed.
Inflammation creates nociception, a signal to the brain, warning that something is wrong in the joint.
As that signal is processed by the brain, we experience pain in the hip.
O.A is a degenerative process, where over time the disease progresses and the joint itself can even change shape.
Over the long-haul if the joint is put under too much stress or abnormal loading, you will can get a painful hip!
Funnily enough, changes in joint shape, as seen on a scan or report from a radiographer, doesn’t always mean you’ll be in pain.
There is a poor correlation between joint pathology and the amount of pain a person experiences, this is because each person experiences pain differently.
Most of the time, which is generally over a long period of time. The people with Hip O.A experience bouts of pain and as a result gradually avoid and reduce physical activity and exercise.
As the years go by, the muscles around the joint and greater regions become weaker and more deconditioned.
This creates the perfect storm for abnormal loads and forces across the affected hip.
In other words, the muscles have put more stress on the hip to do the work!
As a result, the hip stiffens up, compensating for the weakness of the surrounding musculature and an unhelpful cycle of pain, stiffness, stiffness and more pain begins and rolls on.
This is why many Hip O.A sufferers present to physiotherapy, years later with a stiff, sore hip that is declining in function.
There are many deep & superficial hip muscles to consider. But look at how many other muscles are around there too. They cannot be forgotten.
Common signs and symptoms of Hip O.A
- Stiffness in the morning
- Stiffness going from periods of sitting to standing
- Stiffness standing to walking
- Anterior Hip Pain
- Back and groin pain
- Walking flexed at the hip
- Your gait (walking) is slow, swaying around moving forward
- You can’t cross your legs
- Lateral Hip Pain
- Buttock Pain
- Gluteal pain and tightness
- Tight hip muscles
- You start making that old person grunt “oaahhhhh” getting up or around!
Hip Pain Relief
Many people want to know “What can be done to treat Hip O.A?”
There are a number of things we can and will do to help hip pain sufferers:
- Provide Manual therapy to ease symptoms -> Whether its releasing off tight muscles or getting a very stiff joint moving, physios are equipped with a wide variety of techniques to tackle the issue.
- Pain medications -> We can be helpful in assisting you and your doctor on the correct combination of medication, ALONG WITH the right physio and exercise regime. Speak to your GP or come and chat to us about what can be done.
- Educate and Manage Load -> Understanding what is going on and what to do is so important. Too much or too little is never a good thing, we just have to find the right balance for you and then progress!
- Modify activities -> You may find that certain activities are more painful than others. This doesn’t mean we necessarily have to stop forever. But for many we may have to change things up bit and reintroduce those activities when we are stronger, fitter and more resilient.
- Exercise! -> The key for long-term management is a well-progressed and monitored exercise program. This will help manage your condition and keep you moving well for many years!
After all, we’re all about keeping you Fighting Fit!
Hip Pain Physio Gold Coast
Dean is a registered Gold Coast Physiotherapist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Human Movement and Exercise Science. His background has developed his vision for Fighting Fit Physiotherapy to focus on optimal health and peak physical performance for every single patient. Utilising his many qualifications, in depth knowledge of the body and passion for exercise he can provide a holistic approach to your treatment and exercise prescription to get the best outcome.