HIP PAIN AND STIFFNESS
HIP PAIN AND STIFFNESS
Since the hip is a weight bearing joint, osteoarthritis is usually the cause of chronic hip pain. A total of 58,952 primary hip replacements were carried out in England and Wales in 2006/7 ¹. Of these, 94 per cent were due to osteoarthritis and 60 per cent of these operations were carried out on women.
True hip pain (pain coming from the hip joint) may be due to an acute (usually accident related) or a chronic (usually arthritis related) condition. Treatment for an acute hip injury initially involves reducing the inflammation in and around the joint.
After the inflammation is reduced our aim is to return the normal function of the hip joint, the hip capsule and the surrounding muscles and ligaments by using a combination of joint mobilisation, myofascial release, Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy and exercise therapy. The goal of treatment of a chronic hip condition is to determine what caused the hip joint to become symptomatic, then to reduce or resolve the cause, and rehabilitate the hip joint.
Early diagnosis and treatment help manage hip osteoarthritis symptoms. Hip osteoarthritis is caused by deterioration of articular cartilage and wear-and-tear of the hip joint. The initial symptoms are very subtle; hip pain and stiffness tending to creep up on you, initially you have a little tightness in the hips which progresses to a mild stiffness which becomes progressively worse, (you may have some difficulty putting your socks on or stiffness when crossing your legs), after you have had this stiffness for perhaps 3 – 5 years, this slowly gets worse until you start feeling some pain on certain movements which is worse in the winter months, by this stage you will already have some osteoarthritis in your hips.
Hip mobilisation and treatment (see above) plus stretches will help alleviate this pain but it is far better if treatment commences when the patient is still just suffering from stiffness in the hips. Hip arthritis is the commonest joint arthritis requiring total replacement. Regular hip stretches can delay the onset of pain and reduce stiffness dramatically slowing down the development of arthritic symptoms from the hip joints. Below are some simple exercises to do if you feel that your hips are starting to tighten up and feel stiff.