Normal joint cartilage has a high water content providing it with the ability to change shape when compressed. A key function of cartilage is to serve as a “shock absorber”. In primary osteoarthritis (OA), repetitive microtrauma irritates cartilage. The ensuing immune response causes swelling and softening, leading to surface damage. Chronically damaged cartilage is accompanied by the development of subchondral cysts, joint space narrowing, sclerosis and osteophytes that further disrupt joint mechanics, perpetuating degeneration and causing eventual deformity.

Estimates of the prevalence of hip OA vary from 3-33%. (51) The likelihood of developing osteoarthritis increases with age, and the incidence appears to be slightly higher in males. There appears to be a genetic predisposition. Other predisposing factors for hip OA include obesity, congenital defects including femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), and repetitive trauma, including occupations requiring prolonged standing or heavy physical exertion (1,51).

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What we do in our office to help this condition:

1. Perform a detailed exam, assessing the alignment of the spine, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, and small bones of the foot. Improper alignment in any of these areas may be detrimentally affecting the function of the hip, and compromising its ability to function normally.

2. As indicated, adjust areas of spinal and extremity subluxations (misalignments), restoring proper nerve system function which facilitates healing.

3. Perform laser therapy which penetrates to the cellular level of the soft tissues surrounding the hip. This promotes better oxygen and nutrients to the tissue, which can relieve pain and facilitate the healing process.

4. Conduct an electronic foot scan to see if the integrity of the foot’s arches have been compromised. If so, custom arch supports (orthotics) would be of benefit and can be prescribed.

5. Prescribe stretches and exercises in conjunction with chiropractic care to strengthen the soft tissue around the hip.