Had hip pain for a Long time? Is it getting progressively worse – or not improving? Do you have Xray or MRI results that say you have arthritis? Have you been told hip replacement surgery is on the horizon?
“A trial of conservative management for persons with pre-arthritic, intra-articular hip disorders should be considered before engaging in surgical intervention”
Hip pain is a real nuisance.. Whilst everyone agrees that it can control their life, the degree of hip pain people experience with degeneration is variable as is the degree of loss of function – either in range of motion or functionality.
You may notice it as a little bit of pain that catches you doing certain movements, like getting in and out of car, or perhaps some aching after exercise. Initially, you don’t think much about it until it either becomes a constant pain or starts to affect your quality of life.
For many it really starts to get your full attention when it progresses to pain every time you get on or off a chair or toilet or when it aches and possibly refers into groin or knee even when lying in bed.
The real inconvenience comes when the leg starts to give way or catches when simply walking. The big loss with all this is that of your confidence and freedom. You start to limit activities and outings for fear of falling or collapsing or holding everyone up.
Its not a lot of fun and this doesn’t just occur in your 60 & 70’s. The dysfunction starts a lot earlier and can rapidly progress to the advanced stages. In fact, I’ve commonly seen it in people aged in their 30’s and 40’s!
So, what is it? Osteoarthritis (OA) is often referred to as “wear-and-tear” arthritis, age-related arthritis, or degenerative joint disease. As a degenerative disorder, OA can involve any joint, and it primarily affects the articular cartilage and surrounding tissues. The pain in OA can come from any of these structures or other related structures compensating for your altered movement.
The more important question is what causes this arthritis?
Primary OA the most common type is categorised at idiopathic – which means the cause is unknown. This type of OA is generally a result of loss of function of the joint.
Every joint is designed to work in a specific range of motion with ligaments providing static stability and muscles acting on the joint to provide dynamic stability and movement. When muscles around the joint become dysfunctional, there is a loss of function resulting in an abnormal biomechanical loading of the joint. This is particularly relevant in the hip because of its weight bearing responsibility.
The abnormal loading in the short term may not be an issue but over an extended period this causes altered movement patterns, damage to the articular cartilage, narrowing of the joint space and other degenerative changes. The result is degeneration of the joint with a more obvious loss in range of motion and function of the joint with accompanying pain as a reminder.
The good news is the functional loss that initiated this process can be restored.
When the function of the hip joint is restored the joint can then be loaded correctly again and the irritation that has been occurring to the tissues due to the abnormal stress now decreases.
As the irritation reduces the pain generally starts to reduce as well.
Most patients I see choose not to proceed to surgery once the function of the hip joint is restored and the pain dissipates. They may not have the range of motion they did when they were teenagers but most feel pain free movement with their day to day activities and this far outweighs the risks and possible complications of surgery.
In some cases surgery is sometimes inevitable when the damage has progressed too far as the irritation and thus damage to the body has been too great. The significant difference we see with patients who do require surgery that we have improved function first is that they seem to have a much faster recovery!
When the functional problems that caused the initial arthritic changes resolved, and the new hip replaced into a functional joint area, recovery seems to be greatly improved.
Do you want to know my top tips to identify if you might have a hip that is heading down the path of arthritis? If so, then read below. 👇👇👇
Here are my top tips to see if your hip is problematic and potentially undergoing arthritic change:
- Hip range of motion is limited, painful or different from side to side – Does one side move more than the other in any direction? Is there any pain associated with this movement?
- There is stiffness or pain in the hips in the morning that improves with walking
- Unexplained pain in the groin, thigh, buttocks, or knee – especially if you notice it when moving!
If any of the symptoms described above sound like you or someone you know you probably don’t want to leave it. A thorough assessment early may prevent a lifetime of problems.
If you would like to book an appointment to see how we can help you or you’d just like to chat to someone about your hips, click the chat button or give us a call today on 9318 7758 and we’ll organise a time to see what our team might be able to do to help you