OA (Osteoarthritis) is prevalent in our society with 8.5M of people getting this in the UK alone (nice.org.uk statistics). Although some high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, should be avoided, it is important to maintain as much activity and joint motion as possible with some low impact movements.
Staying active also can help with weight loss, which is an important part of the management of hip arthritis. It is often stiffness due to lack of movement even more than pain that leads people to opt for early surgery. Whether or not you are heading for surgery these are important areas to concentrate on, all of which are part of Pilates classes:
- Quads strength
- Hamstring strength and length
- Glutes strength
- Heel slides to activate hip flexion and extension to neutral
- Upper body strength exercises (especially triceps). This is important also to prepare for after surgery activities such as walking with crutches and pushing yourself off a chair without overbearing the affected hip.
…and of course general hip release and mobility.
Here is an exercise I love as it helps “stirring” the synovial fluid inside the hip joints giving the hip more freedom as it helps your hip move through all planes of motion.
Lye on your back and use a theraband to support some of the weight of the leg. Have your head supported by a thin pillow, your neck and shoulder in neutral and holding your core muscles with a slight contraction start circling your leg at about 90 degrees of hip flexion or as high as your hamstrings allow. Keep your hips stable for the duration of the exercise avoiding rocking from side to side. Now start circling the leg: you can start with small circles and as your stability progresses go on to larger circles really targeting hip adduction (across the body) and abduction (opening of the thigh and hip). Enjoy 🙂