There are many causes of hip pain, but the most common is arthritis. More specifically, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis causes inflammation of the joint of the hip. This then leads to the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip. Pain and stiffness develop and range of motion is significantly reduced. The good news is, physical therapy has proven to be highly beneficial for those that suffer from hip pain due to arthritis. Continue reading to learn more.

What Causes Arthritis Hip Pain?

The hip joint is considered to be one of the largest joints within the body. It is a ball-and-socket joint. Certain areas are protected by a very tough, yet smooth, type of tissue called “cartilage”.

This helps in absorbing shock, reducing friction, and helps the bones to glide effortlessly and smoothly together.

As this tissue starts to wear down, the bones start rubbing together. This is the onset of arthritis.

What is an Arthritis Hip Pain Flare-Up?

An arthritis hip pain flare-up is when the pain in the hip region intensifies and pain and inflammation occur. Individuals that suffer from hip pain due to arthritis may have good days and bad days. In most instances, the “bad days” stem from a worsening of pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

Flare-ups may come on suddenly. They can seriously and negatively impact an individual’s overall quality of life.

Physical therapy helps in drastically reducing the number of flare-ups that a sufferer experiences and helps in offsetting the symptoms that cause a flare-up.

Hip Pain

What Triggers Arthritis Hip Pain Flare-Ups?

There are many triggers that could result in an onset of an arthritis flare-up in the hip. The following outlines the most common of these:

  1. If an individual has osteoarthritis, something as simple as gaining a couple of pounds may trigger a flare-up. This is due to the fact that the additional weight places more pressure on the hip joint, which is considered a weight-bearing joint.
  2. If a person has rheumatoid arthritis – which is an autoimmune health condition – developing an infection that directly affects the immune system of the body could result in the development of a flare-up.
  3. Many patients experience flare-ups as a direct result of overexertion. This is most often experienced when engaging in repetitive type of movements.
  4. Sudden movements, jars, or activities that place stress directly on the hip joint could result in an arthritic flare-up in prone individuals.
  5. Cold weather, high levels of humidity, and changes in the barometric or atmospheric pressure can result in a flare-up.
  6. Those that have gout may experience arthritic flare-ups with the hips when the gout flares. This stems from uncontrolled levels of uric acid within the body. It causes crystals to form around and within the joints.
  7. Stress may lead to the development of cytokines, which are known to increase inflammation in the body. In turn, this could lead to an arthritis flare-up in the hips.

What are the Main Symptoms of a Hip Arthritis Flare-Up?

Many symptoms may be experienced by those that have a flare-up due to arthritis in the hips. The following outlines the most common symptoms:

  • Pain will likely occur in and around the hips during a flare-up. In some instances, referred pain may be felt in the back, legs, pelvic, and abdominal region.
  • Stiffness is experienced in and around the hips. This most often makes itself known when walking and going up stairs. In some instances, it may be felt when bending.
  • The entire hip region may become tender.
  • Swelling and inflammation will occur. When it happens with the hip, it may occur with other joints throughout the body, too. It all depends on whether the arthritis has spread and/or if the patient suffers from gout.
  • The affected area may become red and warm to the touch.
  • It may be difficult to move and/or stand.
  • The range of motion may become drastically reduced.
  • Many patients report trouble in resting and sleeping due to the discomfort associated with the flare-up.

When is Hip Pain Considered Serious?

While it is true that physical therapy is a productive treatment option for those suffering from arthritis hip pain, it is important to note that there are some instances where pain in the hip may be serious. If any of the following occurs, medical attention should be sought immediately:

  1. If the joint appears to be deformed
  2. If high levels of intense pain are experienced
  3. If the leg or hip cannot be moved
  4. If weight cannot be placed on the leg affected
  5. If high levels of swelling suddenly occur
  6. If there are signs of an infection – such as redness, the development of a fever, body aches, and/or chills

What Does Hip Pain Caused by Arthritis Feel Like?

In most instances, arthritis hip pain results in stiffness. The sufferer may feel as if the motion of the joint is severely limited. Many may find that the joint feels as if it will catch or the joint will produce a clicking sensation. Most sufferers experience the most intense symptoms after walking a long distance, climbing stairs, and/or standing for long periods of time.

Why is Physical Therapy Good for Arthritis Hip Pain?

According to research, physical therapy is a productive treatment for hip pain caused by arthritis because it strengthens and stretches the hip region, the body’s core, and the leg.

Not only does this help in maximizing the range of motion, but it is productive in offsetting pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

By keeping the muscles and tissues surrounding the hip joint limber and strong, the symptoms and problems associated with hip arthritis is drastically reduced.

women stretching

What are the Best Ways to Treat Arthritis Hip Pain?

There are many non-surgical strategies for treating arthritis hip pain. These include taking anti-inflammatory medications, having corticosteroid injections in the joint to block the inflammation and reduce pain, and physical therapy.

Physical therapy is considered to be the most effective means of treatment.

This is because PT utilizes exercises that increase strength, improve the flexibility of the region, and help in accumulating and maintaining the muscles that are part of and surrounding the hip joint.

What Can Be Expected with Physical Therapy for the Hip with Arthritis?

Physical therapy for arthritis hip pain will include exercises and activities that do the following:

  • Stretches
  • Strengthens
  • Aids in Balance Training
  • Mobilization of the Joint
  • Stabilization of the Hip Joint

In some instances, the use of heat therapy and ice therapy may be used to help those that have arthritis hip pain.

Ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation therapy are also very beneficial to those that have arthritis hip pain; therefore, many physical therapists will integrate these therapies into the treatment regimen.

Contact Us Now

Are you suffering from hip pain? Have you been diagnosed with arthritis of the hip? Are you ready to regain control and improve your quality of life? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is time to contact us here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy.

We will work closely with you to create a customized treatment plan based on your health history, your individual needs, and your expectations.

We offer a combination of services – such as balance training and dry needling – and treatments – such as that specifically outlined for hip pain – to bring you the most comprehensive treatment available. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us immediately.

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