Question:My doctor thinks I have the start of hip osteoarthritis. What is this disease anyway?
Answer:Osteoarthritis (OA) is more of a condition than a disease. It occurs slowly over time as the loss of cartilage begins. The layer of bone just under the cartilage starts to harden, a process called sclerosis. Bone spurs start to form around the edges of the joint.
Patients affected by OA report pain, loss of motion, and loss of function. Hip OA can cause pain in the groin, thigh, and upper outer part of the leg. Pain can go from the hip down to the knee. Morning stiffness is common. Patients often have trouble putting weight on the affected leg.
Early identification and treatment may help patients stay active and avoid surgery for years. Exercise has been shown to reduce pain and disability. The use of manual physical therapy combined with exercise seems to give patients greater return of function that lasts longer.
If you haven't already, talk with your doctor about the various treatment options. Find out what is recommended for you.Cameron W. MacDonald, PT, DPT, GCS, OCS, FAAOMPT, et al. Clinical Outcomes Following Manual Physical Therapy and Exercise for Hip Osteoarthritis: A Case Series. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. August 2006. Vol. 36. No. 8. Pp. 588-599.
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