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Osteoarthritis of the hip

Osteoarthritis of the Hip

What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that affects the cartilage of joints. Cartilage is a firm, flexible connective tissue that lines the surface of many joints and provides shock absorption and cushioning for the bony surfaces of those joints as they move. During the process of OA, cartilage gradually begins to break down and is worn away. This means that the bony surfaces below the cartilage start to rub together, creating increased stress and friction. The body reacts to this increased stress by creating small bony deposits around the joint, as more of these are created the joint becomes increasingly painful and difficult to move.

The hip is one the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. While OA is generally considered to be a disease associated with aging, younger people can be affected, particularly following trauma to the hip. As a general rule, however, the cartilage in our bodies loses elasticity as we age, making it more susceptible to damage. Other risk factors for the development of OA are a family history of OA, previous traumatic injury of the hip, obesity, improper formation of the hip at birth (developmental dysplasia), genetic defects of the cartilage, impingement of the hip (femoroacetabular impingement) and a history of intense weight-bearing activities.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common symptoms of hip OA are pain and stiffness with reduced movement of the hip, particularly in the direction of internal rotation. These symptoms in a person over the age of 50, in the absence of a trauma that may have caused a fracture, indicate possible OA. Pain originating from the hip joint can be felt as a deep ache that can be noticed in the groin, buttocks, thigh or even knee. It is also typical for sufferers of OA to experience stiffness in the morning upon waking that lasts less than 30-60 minutes. Grating or cracking sensations with hip movements are also common complaints, along with mild to moderate joint swelling.

In the early stages, mild pain may be felt with activities such as walking or running. As the disease progresses these activities will become more painful with the muscles that provide additional support to the joint becoming weaker, exacerbating the disease process. For many people, a total hip replacement may be necessary to reduce pain and restore function.

How can physiotherapy help?

For mild to moderate cases of OA, physiotherapy can help to reduce pain and maintain function for as long as possible. Keep the musculature around the hip as Strong and healthy as possible can have a significant impact on your quality of life and your physiotherapist work with you to help you to set and reach your goals for treatment
Treatment will also include stretching, trigger point therapy, joint mobilization to increase the joint’s mobility, and a personalised exercise program, including hydrotherapy and isometric exercises that work to increase muscle strength while putting less pressure on the joint.

For those whose best course of treatment is a surgical joint replacement, physiotherapy can help to achieve great outcomes by helping with effective preparation and rehabilitation, getting you on your way to recovery as quickly as possible.

The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Please contact us for advice on your individual condition.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.

Rheumatoid Arthritis | Symptoms and Treatment

What is it?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis classified as an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disorders are conditions where the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. This process of inflammation, the bodies defence system against injury and infection can damage joints and cause deformity over a long period of time. Unlike osteoarthritis, which usually affects larger joints that are involved in weight bearing, rheumatoid arthritis can affect many joints at the same time, with smaller and larger joints affected equally.

What are the symptoms?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, characterised by periods of remissions and flare-ups. During a flare-up, joints might become red, hot, swollen and painful. During a remission a patient might have few symptoms, however over many years, these flare-ups can degrade and deform joints, causing them to lose function and the muscles around them to weaken.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis vary from mild to severe and as mentioned, can fluctuate significantly over time. As movement can help to reduce swelling caused by inflammation, pain can actually increase as joints are rested. A person with rheumatoid arthritis may complain of pain and stiffness that is worst when waking and may take 1-2 hours to subside.

What are the causes?

While rheumatoid arthritis is known to be a process of autoimmune dysfunction, the trigger that causes the immune system attack healthy tissues is unknown. In some cases, a virus may trigger the onset of the disease. There is evidence that women have a stronger immune system than men, and a downside of this is that they are more prone to autoimmune disorders, as is the case with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Other risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis include a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, obesity and smoking.

How can physiotherapy help?

While there is no cure at present for the disease process that causes rheumatoid arthritis, there are treatments that can improve the patient’s quality of life and help to manage the symptoms. The first line of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is medication particularly, anti-inflammatory medications. Change in lifestyle and diet are also advised.
The objectives of physiotherapy treatment for rheumatoid arthritis are to improve joint mobility, increase strength, restore the function of the affected joints and to maintain the level of activity of the patient. Physiotherapy treatments include heat or cold therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises, pain management, manual techniques and patient education. Splinting may be done to protect joints from further damage. Patient education is an important part of the treatment so that the patient is knowledgeable about his/her disease, what to do and not to do.

All of these treatments can help reduce the potential long-term disabilities caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Speak to your physiotherapist for more information.

 

The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.