Hip Osteoarthritis: Symptoms and Treatments

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By Dr. Stefanie Yao
Published on August 11, 2013

What are the Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis?

Hip osteoarthritis symptomsSymptoms of hip osteoarthritis tends to develop gradually over time. As hip osteoarthritis and degeneration progress most people begin to experience hip pain with weight bearing activities and with movement, as well joint stiffness is present typically after rest and or in the mornings.

As hip osteoarthritis develops people tend to notice joint pain becoming more severe with noticeably less hip flexibility and pain at nights with sleeping on the affected hip. Some also notice a grinding sensations in their hips with certain movements such as with getting in and out of bed. Joint stiffness after sitting for extended periods of time, pain and swelling or tenderness in the hip joint, as well as an inability to move the hip in certain ranges which may limit a persons ability to perform certain activities of daily living.

Pain experienced with hip osteoarthritis typically can be felt into the buttocks region and or front of the hip and groin area. Occasionally some experience referred pain to their thighs and or knees. In the later stages of hip osteoarthritis some people begin to develop a limp with their walk and also muscle wasting due to the inability to move the hip and leg through its range.

Little can be done to stop the process of hip osteoarthritis and degeneration around the joint, but there are complementary therapies available to help people still remain active.

Treatment For Hip Osteoarthritis:

Treatment options for those with hip osteoarthritis can be either non-surgical or surgical.

The primary goal of non-surgical hip osteoarthritis treatment is to help patients remain active without aggravating symptoms by maintaining strength and mobility to slow down and avoid further deterioration. Treatment tends to be directed at improving hip range of motion and strength. One key component is to get patients to rest from aggravating activities and to balance weight bearing activities with periods of rest to help keep symptoms to a minimum or absent.

In choosing activities it is important to choose activities that don’t increase symptoms. Swimming, and bike riding are fairly low impact and can be of benefit for those with hip osteoarthritis. Keeping active and moving is important as it helps to prevent stiffness and weakness from developing. Pain relief with anti-inflammatory medications can help assist with pain management. A chiropractor and or physical therapist can help with joint mobilization treatments and manual or instrument assisted soft tissue therapies, electrotherapies, acupuncture, ice and or heat therapy and exercises to help improve strength, flexibility and balance. In addition your therapist can provide information on topics such as walking aids, footwear and orthotics and advice on activity and lifestyle modifications.

Typically during later stages of hip osteoarthritis when non-surgical treatments do not seem to sustain the pain management and mobility issues become limited, surgery may be needed with the use of a total hip replacement to provide pain relief and improve mobility. The optimal time for joint replacement is not known and is something that needs to be discussed with your healthcare practitioner.