Are you experiencing pain in your hip when you get up in the morning or when you run? If so, then you may suffer from osteoarthritis in your hip. On this page, you can find information on symptoms, causes, and how to treat osteoarthritis of the hip with rehabilitative exercises.

Finn Johannsen Specialist MD in rheumatology

What is Osteoarthritis of the Hip?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that causes the cartilage in the joints to gradually degrade, which in turn puts greater pressure on the bones during movement. This can cause pain and result in a thickening of the bone end, as well as bone outgrowths or protrusions, which may lead to decreased joint mobility.

Osteoarthritis is a common disorder that occurs in 5% of the population, with increasing frequency as we age. Besides osteoarthritis, there are other general conditions that can lead to pain in the hips and groin. You can read more about general hip and groin pain here.

Causes of Hip Osteoarthritis and Hip Joint Pain

With age inevitably comes some form of osteoarthritis, which occurs as the cartilage degrades and gradually weakens. Osteoarthritis does also have a hereditary component which can lead to a dysfunctional joint structure in the hip and/or damage to the hip joint.

Correct training and exercise will help to protect you against osteoarthritis, but it is also an important avenue of treatment if you already suffer from osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis and Hip Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis is usually experienced as stiffness in the hip joint and pain when pressure is put on it. The pain is frequently located in the groin and deep in the buttock area. In some cases, the pain will radiate downwards towards the knee.

If nothing is done to treat the condition, the pain will slowly intensify and may grow to a level where the pain is experienced even during inactivity.

Diagnosis and treatment of Hip Osteoarthritis

With exercise, you can significantly improve functionality and reduce your pain symptoms, but it is important to realize that it will not eliminate the osteoarthritis itself as it is an irreversible condition. Swimming and cycling are effective activities for this purpose, but where possible, you should refrain from running, performing gymnastics or jumping. When out walking it is important to wear shock-absorbing shoes to reduce the amount of tension traveling from the foot to the hip.

During rehabilitation, it is important to stretch the tightened muscles and to exercise the weakened muscles around the hip area. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, being overweight will only worsen the condition, affecting functionality and increasing your levels of hip pain. If you are overweight, then a weight reduction program is advised. Daily activity and training will help you achieve to this.

Exercises for Osteoarthritis

  1. Squat I
    10 reps x 3 sets

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    • Stand up in front of a chair without touching it.
    • Stand on both legs with your feet slightly apart.
    • Your toes should point straight ahead.
    • Bend your knees slowly to a point where you almost touch the chair.
    • Then slowly go back up.
    • Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
  2. Uneven crunches with ball
    5 reps x 3 sets

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    • Lie on your back with bent knees and your feet placed flat on the floor.
    • Place a football or a similar ball between your knees.
    • Keep your arms crossed over your chest.
    • Squeeze your knees together while you slowly move one elbow down toward the opposite knee.
    • Lift the shoulder blade off the ground.
    • Hold the position for 3-4 seconds and then slowly return to the starting position.
    • Perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions in each direction.
  3. Front hip stretch I
    30 sec. x 3 sets

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    • Take a wide stance with your legs quite far apart.
    • Support yourself with a hand on a chair or something similar if necessary.
    • Bend the front leg and move your pelvis in a straight line towards the floor.
    • Keep your body straight without leaning forward or backwards.
    • Be sure not to sway in your lower back.
    • You should feel the stretch in the front of your hip.
    • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and perform 3 repetitions with each leg.

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About the author

Finn Johannsen is a specialist MD of rheumatology with a diploma in sports and musculoskeletal medicine, as well as an award-winning specialist in rehabilitative treatment of sports and work-related injuries.