Are you suffering with hip pain which could be osteoarthritis of the hip? This blog will share with you what the common causes and symptoms are of hip osteoarthritis, as well as treatment and self-care advice. I’ve especially focused on the self-help exercises you can use to help strengthen your core and hip, which is important to help manage hip pain and osteoarthritis.
Getting to Know Your Hip
The hip is a ball and socket joint, which helps give the hip its mobility with fluid inside a joint capsule to keep it lubricated and to give the joint needed nutrients.
Hip osteoarthritis or wear and tear of the hip. It’s a common condition which occurs in aging, or if you’ve had an old injury in the area.
During hip osteoarthritis the cartilage (which is on the end of the bones) wears out. Ultimately this can result in the bones to grinding together! As this wear and tera process goes on the hip joint starts to stabilize itself. It reduces movement by growing extra bone around the hip joint and tightens up the muscles surrounding the area.
Hip osteoarthritis is caused by normal aging to the joint or it can occur due to extra pressure on the joint due to postural imbalances and or previous trauma.
- Dull pain, radiating to the groin and side of the hip
- Clicking/popping/grinding/stiffness of the hip
- Pain comes on whilst sitting and usually first thing in the morning
- You may find putting socks on and climbing stairs difficult and or painful
The good thing is that the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis can be managed.
The treatment of hip osteoarthritis involves mobilization or adjusting the hip, soft tissue work of the tight muscles and strengthening the important muscles for hip movement.
A chiropractor such as Dr James Revell at Chiro Care or other manual therapist can work with you to ease your symptoms and will give you adjustments to your lower back and the joint in between the spine and hip.
An adjustment involves putting you into a certain position, usually on your side with your top leg bent up in this case. Then, the chiropractor will give a quick impulse through the affected joint with their hands. You may feel or hear some clicking or popping of the joint. This is to free up the joint restrictions to get everything moving as it should.
They may also mobilize or distract your hip. Distraction involves pulling on the leg to gap the joint and mobilisation involves moving the joint into the restriction slowly and gently to increase the motion and ease the pain.
Manual therapists are also well placed to help relieve the pain associated with hip osteoarthrosis by working on the soft tissues with massage etc around the hip.
Exercises can be used in adjunct to treatment. Effective exercises include gluteus medius and core exercises to stabilise the hip. This is explained below:
A muscle at the side of your hip that moves your leg out and rotates it outwards. It also keeps the pelvis stable during weight bearing. This muscle is usually both tight and weak.
Lay on your side with your legs bent on top of each other, make sure your back is straight, then lift up your top leg towards the ceiling, keeping the feet together. Hold the leg up for five seconds then rest. Do this 15 times each side. If it is too easy either straighten the top leg and or put a resistance band around the knees, above the kneecaps.
You can combine a core exercise and a glut exercise together. This is called a super clam. Lie on your side with knees bent and back in neutral. Make sure your shoulder and elbow are in line Then lift up the top knee and push up with your elbow, lifting your upper body upwards, hold for ten seconds, do this ten times then repeat on the other side.
Put a resistance band either around your feet or on your knees, just above your kneecaps, stand with your legs a little more than shoulder width apart and walk either up and down ten to fifteen times or in a square, make sure your core is tensed whilst walking.
The core are muscles of your lower torso, located in your abdomen, back and sides, that work together to stabilize the spine during movement. You may feel the core activate when sneezing, coughing, or laughing. Core strength is important for hip, pelvis and lower back stabilization, especially during movement. The big three are exercises which are the best at strengthening your core:
Go on all fours, on your knees making sure your spine is neutral and your hands and legs are inline with your shoulders and knees and shoulder width apart. Then lift up one arm and then the opposite leg. Hold for five seconds. Make sure to activate your core and try not to rotate too much. If you are not sure, place a half full bottle of water in the small of your back and try and keep it there. Do this fifteen times. Do one side then the other side. If you find this too difficult then try start off with just lifting up the leg. If it is too easy, then put your arms and legs together.
Lay on your side with your knees straight and prop yourself up with your elbow, make sure your back is straight and your elbow is inline with your shoulder. Push with your elbow so your body lifts up off the ground then hold for ten seconds, do this ten times each side then switch. If you find it too easy, bend your legs.
Lay on your back on a comfortable mat, bend one leg and pop your hands under the small of your back, tuck your chin in then do a small sit up, only lifting your head and shoulders off the floor, hold for five seconds then repeat ten times. If you find this too easy, try lifting your elbows off the floor whilst doing the sit up.
There’s some more information on these core exercises here.
If any of these exercises above cause pain or discomfort, please discontinue and talk to your chiropractor or physician. Treatment and these self-help tips should be carried out in conjunction with core treatment for osteoarthritis.