Next to the knee, your hips are the largest joints in your body. They’re also the second-most mobile joint behind the shoulder. Forming a sturdy ball and socket joint, your hips are essential for walking and balance.
Hips are commonly affected by degenerative joint conditions such as arthritis and suffering damage from injury. Any loss of hip strength or mobility can make your life difficult even before you factor in pain your hips may generate.
As hip pain specialists, the surgeons at Bahri Orthopedics and Sports Medicine understand the mechanics of the hips and how to get the most function from these crucial joints, from conservative treatment to replacement surgery. In many cases, physical therapy can restore strength and flexibility while relieving pain and delaying the need for more aggressive treatment.
Pain is usually the first symptom to draw attention to hip problems. This pain typically arises from arthritis and overuse injuries such as bursitis, tendinitis, and soft tissue sprains. Underlying causes may be wear and tear, as in the case of osteoarthritis, or injuries may result from mechanical problems, such as repeated movements or gait issues.
Once hip pain sets in, you may have difficulty rising from a seated position, climbing stairs, or even walking short distances. Once inflammation begins, it may be challenging to find relief since you often can’t simply rest until the pain fades. Even when you can, your body is made to move, so you could find you’ve lost strength and range of motion in your hips as you healed.
The underlying goal of physical therapy is to improve your quality of life through a strategic plan to build support for problem joints through exercise, stretching, and other appropriate treatments.
Your body works as a system, and when one part of the system begins to fail, it’s often possible for other parts to compensate. Where your hip is concerned, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and bones comprise the system.
As an example, if you have arthritis, cartilage and bone may be deteriorating. Still, building strength in the support muscles and flexibility in the joint’s ligaments, you may be able to transfer some of the load away from cartilage and bone.
With this transfer, you may find that your hip pain is reduced, or you have a decrease in dependence on pain medication. The nature of your hip condition influences the success of physical therapy, but generally, mild to moderate issues respond well.
The early stages of treatment focus on assessment, including measurements of strength and range of motion, as well as an evaluation of gait, since walking has a significant impact on hip performance. Functional mobilities such as stair climbing may be examined too.
Your physical therapist then formulates a plan that may include assisted exercises and stretches and home exercise programs. Treatments like ultrasound and hot and cold packs may be used to ease inflammation or discomfort arising from your plan.
The first step in an effective hip physical therapy program is to reach out to Bahri Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic for an evaluation by an orthopedic expert. You can contact the nearest office in Jacksonville or St. Augustine by phone or online to arrange your consultation. Make an appointment today.