Arthritis at the hip is most commonly osteoarthritis, usually presenting in the over 60s. There may be no obvious cause or it may be due to overuse, previous broken bone (fracture) in the region or altered posture (biomechanics) leading to uneven stresses through the joint. It affects men and women and passes through stages with increasing pain on standing and walking, stiffness and difficulty in getting comfortable at night, disturbing sleep. The pain is usually felt in the groin and front of the thigh but it may travel to the front of the ankle and can be felt in the low back and buttock. For this latter reason, thorough assessment is needed to separate it from back pain as the main. Stiffness and pain of movements in a particular pattern will help with diagnosis.
Physiotherapy can help, especially in the early stages by using stretching techniques to improve the range of movement and to relieve pain. Home exercises are given to prevent the hip joint stiffening after treatment with advice on posture and general activities.
Top up treatments might be needed and if the treatment stops helping then referral for an orthopaedic opinion is appropriate to see if injection or surgery is indicated.
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