Osteoarthritis of the Hip and PT

Osteoarthritis of the hip (hip OA) is inflammation of the hip joint. It can develop at any age, although it is more commonly diagnosed in older adults. Hip OA can make everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs difficult. More severe cases may require hip joint replacement surgery.

There is no known specific cause of the condition; everyone is at equal risk of developing it. Recent research found no difference in the rate of occurrence of hip OA in the general public based on race, gender, weight, or educational level.

Hip OA may cause:

  • Sharp, shooting pain or dull, achy pain in the hip, groin, thigh, knee, or buttocks 

  • Stiffness in the hip joint, which is worse after sleeping or sitting 

  • A “crunching” sound when the hip joint is moved, caused by bone 
rubbing on bone 

  • Difficulty and pain when getting out of bed, standing up from a sitting position, walking, or climbing stairs 

  • Difficulty performing normal daily activities, such as putting on socks and shoes


In severe cases of hip OA, the hip joint degenerates until bone is rubbing on bone. This condition can require hip joint replacement surgery. Physical therapy is an essential part of postsurgical recovery, which can take several months.

Whether or not patients have surgery, physical therapists design specific exercise and treatment programs to get people with hip OA moving again.

Your physical therapist will work with you to: 

  • Reduce your pain 

  • Improve your leg, hip, and back motion 

  • Improve your strength, standing balance, and walking ability 

  • Speed healing and your return to activity and sport 

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