Osteoarthritis is a physiological condition, which can affect any synovial joint in the body. It is particularly common within the hips as they are heavily involved in day-to-day movement and load bearing. As the condition progresses, the joint becomes sore and inflamed as a result of bone degeneration. In a healthy individual the cartilage and synovial fluid lubricates the joint allowing smooth pain free movements.
As osteoarthritis progresses, the cartilage, bones, synovial fluid and joint lining change and break down. This results in symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling. Consequently a lot of people become less mobile as they are unable participate in their usual daily routines, this leads to muscular weakness and a reduction in flexibility which if is not addressed can lead to muscle atrophy and permanent deformity.
The pain and restricted movement caused by Hip Arthritis increases the overall effort involved to complete tasks and leads to quickening fatigue. This can impact a patient’s daily routine and negatively affect their social life. As patients become less mobile they become less and less independent. A high percentage of patients therefore develop further health complications such as depression and increased anxiety.
It is extremely important for individuals suffering from Hip Arthritis to stay as mobile as possible. It is highly recommended that patients take part in regular light exercises throughout the day in order to keep themselves active and strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint. Walking is an effective form of exercise, as it helps to strengthen muscles, rehydrates the hip joint and stretches surrounding soft tissue structures to reduce the chances of muscle tightness and contraction.
If an individual is struggling to remain mobile there are a number of different walking aids which can be considered to assist with walking such as walking sticks and frames, these are useful as they improve balance and they can reduce the amount of weight exerted through the joint.
The hip joints are involved in absorbing shock during exercise. It is therefore advisable to avoid strenuous activities such as running and jumping which exert a lot of sudden shock through the joints. If you are going to partake in strenuous activity then musculoskeletal therapies that encourage and maintain joint space are advisable. Patients should avoid prolonged periods of inactivity. When a joint is particularly inflamed this is often difficult, however, lack of movement can lead to dehydration and increased stiffness, resulting in further flare-ups and painful symptoms.