A conservative approach to patients with mild-moderate hip osteoarthritis



Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear, is a common condition that many develop with advancing age. Hip osteoarthritis is very common because of the load-bearing nature of the joint, and symptoms include pain and stiffness. Everyday activities such as bending over to tie shoe laces, getting up from a chair, or taking a short walk can be severely impacted. Those affected may report pain in the groin or thigh that may radiate to the knee, worsens with vigorous activity, grinding in the hip joint, and reduced hip function which may lead to limping. Risk factors include increasing age, a family history of osteoarthritis, previous hip injury, obesity, and hip dysplasia.


Conservative and non-conservative treatment approaches may be appropriate according to the severity of the osteoarthritis, and how it is impacting quality of life. For mild-to-moderate hip osteoarthritis, research has found that exercise therapy and manual therapy, and its combination with patient education provides benefits in pain and improvement in function. There is of course a time to discuss medical intervention, but it is always worth pursuing a conservative approach first to see if any positive changes can be made. If conservative management fails, then one might consider injection therapy, or surgery.