Question:Last year I was diagnosed with hip osteoarthritis. The X-rays show it is in the early stages. Even so, I have had considerable hip pain and can't walk without limping. I started using a cane, which seems to help with the hip pain, but now I am having low back pain. Could the cane be causing this?
Probably not. Canes and other walking aids actually dampen forces that act on the joints. It is more likely that the low back area has absorbed some of the stress normally taken by the hip.
When the hip is painful, it is not always possible to put full weight through the joint. The body compensates for this by transferring some of the normal forces generated through the hip to the pelvis (the bones between the hips). Pelvic motion is altered to help the hip. This in turn increases the load on the low back.
You should report your symptoms to your doctor. It may be that exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can help you balance out the stress on the back, pelvis, hip, and knee. Dealing with your symptoms now can help prevent other injuries.
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