Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative process affecting the joints. Initially there is mild ‘fraying’ of the cartilage surrounding joint, which if progresses, can develop into loose bodies which float around, the formation of osteophytes (bony growths), and ultimately, areas of cartilage erosion down to the bone.
Signs & Symptoms
Pain in the groin, deep in the hip, outside of the hip and lower back
Referred pain down the front of the thigh to the knee
Pain worse in the morning, in cold weather before it rains, and after exercise
Aggravated by getting in/out the car, squatting, crossing legs, putting on shoes
Spasm of iliopsoas hip muscle
Reduced hip range of movement (especially extension)
Reduced weightbearing on affected side
What Causes It?
Age related degeneration increased by:
repetitive high impact activities which load the joints
leg length discrepancy
lumbar joint stiffness and thickening
reduced function of ipsilateral core muscles leading to pelvic instability
obesity as it results in greater load that the joints have to endure
How to Self Manage
Keep your hip moving (pain free range)
Reduce high impact exercise, but maintain flexibility and strength
Use heat to reduce pain
See your pharmacist for advice on joint supplements
Seek assessment of your hip by your physiotherapist
Consider requesting an x-ray referral from your GP
Conservative management may be enough to manage mild arthritis, or even prevent surgery in the short term.
Once pain becomes constant and severe, and life activities are significantly impeded then specialist intervention and surgery is required.
How Physio Helps
Assess your hip and exclude other areas to confirm if OA is likely
Refer for an investigation (x-ray) if necessary
Prescribe an individual specific exercise program to gain as much range as possible