Since its inception in the early 19th century, physical therapy has helped millions of people—of all ages, with various health conditions and injuries—restore their function and live normal lives.
In particular, physical therapy plays a major role in hip arthritis treatment, helping patients improve their range of motion, strength, and normal movement in their hip and legs.
If you have hip arthritis, here’s how physical therapy can exactly help you effectively manage your condition.
The Goal of Physical Therapy in Hip Arthritis Management
The main goal of physical therapy in hip arthritis management is to get you moving safely and effectively. Your physical therapist will help you achieve this goal by crafting a customized plan of care according to your unique situation and goals and on clinical judgment.
Your physical therapist will be with you in every phase of your rehabilitation journey, performing important functions, such as the ones listed below:
- Develop an exercise program that will help you improve your balance, range of motion, and strength
- Help you alleviate your joint pain and stiffness using hot and cold therapy
- Teach you about proper body mechanics to help ease your pain or improve your function
- Teach you how to use an assistive device (cane, crutch, or walker) properly
Improving Your Range of Motion and Muscle Strength Through Exercise
If you are living with hip arthritis, exercise may seem counterintuitive, but a lack of it can actually exacerbate your condition. Your physical therapist may incorporate the following forms of exercise to help you move more and better.
· Range-of-Motion Exercises
Your hips have ball and socket joints, which allow for backward, forward, sideways, and rotating movements. Limited rotating and sideways movement are among the early signs of hip arthritis. When the disease progresses, all types of movement of the ball and socket joints in the hip become difficult, thus the limited range of motion.
Physical therapy employs range-of-motion exercises to improve the movement of your ball and socket joints, ultimately stimulating their healing and protecting them and their surrounding tissues from further damage.
Before creating a ROM exercise plan, your physical therapist will measure your ROM using a special instrument (goniometer), then incorporate exercises suitable to the type of ROM limitation that you may have.
- Strength-Training Exercises
Your physical therapist will help you improve your muscle strength by gradually increasing the intensity of your exercises. This is especially helpful if you have severe hip arthritis.
To start, your physical therapist will have you do light-impact exercises, such as walking, stationary bike exercise, yoga, etc. The next phase will involve muscular endurance exercises, which are typically light-strength training. When you’re almost completely recovering, your physical therapist will have you do proper strength training, which serves as the final phase of your program.
Book a Physical Therapy Appointment
At Doctors United, our conservative treatments include bracing, injections, and physical therapy to help you manage your symptoms. We have licensed physical therapists on-site who employ therapeutic exercises and manual therapy treatment to help you safely restore your normal function.