Light exercise is one of the
most effective ways to relieve arthritis pain by stimulating
circulation and strengthening the muscles, ligaments,
and tendons around your hip. Strong muscles help support
the bony structures of the hip and may provide relief
from arthritis pain. The key is to work with your therapist
to find a balance between low–impact and weight
bearing activity. Too much weight bearing can damage
your hip, but some weight bearing is needed to maintain
bone strength. In conjunction with a healthy diet, exercise
also can help you lose weight, which reduces stress
on your arthritic hip.
In the first few weeks of rehabilitation,
your physical therapist usually helps you stretch the
muscles in your hamstrings, quadriceps, buttocks, groin,
and back while flexing and extending your hip to restore
a full, pain–free range of motion. Stretching
should be continued for the rest of your life. Many
patients receive effective pain relief from daily stretching.
When pain has decreased, physicians
generally recommend at least 30 minutes of low–impact
exercise a day for patients with arthritis. You should
try to cut back on activities that put stress on your
hips, like running and strenuous weight lifting. Cross–training
exercise programs often are prescribed when you have
arthritis. Depending on your preferences, your workouts
may vary each day between cycling, cross–country
skiing machines, elliptical training machines, swimming,
and other low–impact cardiovascular exercises.
Walking usually is better for arthritic hips than running,
and many patients prefer swimming in a warm pool, which
takes your body weight off your knees and makes movement
Strength training usually focuses
on moving light weights through a complete, controlled
range of motion. Your physical therapist typically teaches
you to move slowly through the entire motion with enough
resistance to work your muscles without stressing hip
bones. Once your physical therapist has taught you a
proper exercise program, it is important to find time
each day to perform the prescribed exercises.
Though there is no cure for osteoarthritis, you
can prevent or minimize recurrent symptoms as well as
slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Maintaining
cardiovascular fitness has been an effective method
for preventing the progression of osteoarthritis. Light,
daily exercise is much better for an arthritic hip than
occasional, heavy exercise. It is especially important
to avoid suffering any serious hip injuries, like torn
ligaments or fractured bones. Arthritis can complicate
hip injury treatment or result from a serious hip injury.
You should avoid high–impact or repetitive–stress
sports, like football and distance running, that can
cause severe hip injuries. Depending on the severity
of your arthritis, your physician may also recommend
limiting your participation in sports that involve sprinting,
twisting, or jumping. Because osteoarthritis has multiple
causes and may be related to genetic factors, no simple
prevention tactic will help everyone avoid increased
arthritic pain. To prevent the spread of arthritis,
physicians generally recommend that you take the following
anything that makes pain last for more than an hour
controlled range of motion activities that do not overload
heavy impact on the hips during everyday and athletic
strengthen the muscles in your thigh, groin, and back
to help protect the bones and cartilage in your hip.
Non–contact activities and stretching are a great
way to maintain fitness and keep joints and bones healthy
over time. Exercise also helps promote weight loss,
which can take stress off all weight–bearing joints.
| Treatment Introduction
treatments begin with the least invasive techniques.
A combination of rest, medication, and light exercise
can initially ease arthritis pain:
– Continuing some form of light exercise is important
for circulation and bone strength, but you should usually
decrease the intensity of your involvement in physical
activities if arthritis is causing pain. You do not
want to risk suffering joint injuries in contact sports
due to excessive twisting, jumping, or pivoting.
anti–inflammatories – Over–the–counter
medications like aspirin and ibuprofen may decrease
the production of fluids that cause arthritic irritation
in the hip. Prescription–strength medicine may
be prescribed, as well as painkillers like acetaminophen.
The dose depends on the drug. It is a bad idea to take
the same anti–inflammatory for more than a couple
of months because of potential side effects.
have also begun to prescribe a newer type of anti-inflammatory
medication known as COX-2 inhibitor. Like traditional
anti-inflammatories, COX-2 inhibitors can effectively
treat arthritis pain and inflammation. The benefit of
COX-2 inhibitors is that the seem to cause less stomach
irritation that traditional medications.
injections – Corticosteroids have strong anti–inflammatory
effects when injected directly into your painful hip.
Injections usually are done to treat acute painful episodes.
They may control pain so you can continue exercising.
However, these injections are sparingly used because
corticosteroids can lead to hip damage when injected
may be instructed to use a cane to keep weight off your
hip joint. Weight loss programs also can help relieve
stress to your hip and may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
physician usually refers you to a physical therapist,
who can teach you proper light exercise techniques that
keep you strong without risking further damage to your
hip. Many patients receive pain relief from learning
daily stretching routines.
treatments are available, including heat lamps, hot
showers, heating pads, heat ointments, and whirlpool
or bath treatments. Many people with arthritis alleviate
pain with heat treatment before activities and ice afterwards.
Heat treatment usually is left to your physical therapist's