Most people with osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip joint never need joint replacement surgery. Surgery only becomes an option if the person suffers from severe pain in the joint that is unrelieved by available treatment methods, with a dramatically impaired ability to perform daily activities and marked joint instability.
Simpler treatments to relieve pain, increase function and slow down the degeneration of the joint should always be tried before surgery is considered. One of the first things you can do on your own is to control your weight. Controlling your weight lessens pain by reducing stress on the hip joint.
Weight loss should be coupled with physical activity. By building up muscles around joints, exercise increases joint stability and prevents further damage. Even simple aerobic exercises like swimming and walking on level ground can be helpful. Set a goal of 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Range-of-motion, strengthening and stretching exercises can help relieve pain and improve joint movement. Other treatments to alleviate the pain of OA include heat and cold therapy; pain medication; transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS); acupuncture; therapeutic massage; yoga; nutritional supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate; stress control and cortisone injections into the joint.
Some people with OA of the hip are completely pain free, whereas for others, even minor movements of the joint can be quite painful. Because of this, it is important to follow an individually designed treatment program. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another, even if both have OA of the hip joint.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.