Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis which is characterized by chronic inflammation and degeneration of the articular cartilage (protective coating) on the ends of bones that form joints. Osteoarthritis commonly occurs in weighbearing bones such as those of the hip.
The first sign many be discomfort and stiffness in your groin, buttock, or thigh when you wake up in the morning. The pain is typically worse when you are active (weightbearing) and gets better when you rest.
Without treatment, osteoarthritis of the hip, keeps getting worse until resting no longer relieves your pain. The hip joint gets stiff and inflamed. Bone spurs might build up at the edges of the joint. When the cartilage wears away completely, bones rub directly against each other. That makes it very painful for you to move. You may lose the ability to rotate, flex or extend your hip. If you become less active to avoid the pain the muscles controlling your joint get weak, and you may start to limp.
What to expect from therapy
You cannot reverse the effects of osteoarthritis, however early physical therapy intervention may help you avoid a lot of pain and disability and slow progression of the disease. Treatment and rehabilitation for a hip osteoarthritis is designed to relieve pain, restore range of motion and strength, and slow the progression of the disease.
Physical therapy may include manual therapy (hands on) techniques to decrease pain and improve joint range of motion (ROM). Implementation of gentle aerobic exercise, such as swimming, water aerobics or cycling will help to keep your hip joint functioning and improve strength and ROM. Complete restoration of function will also include a comprehensive exercise program emphasizing flexibility, strength, and balance.