Hip osteoarthritis – exercises for pain relief

  • Hip OA can be present from 30 years of age, although it doesn’t tend to be symptomatic until age 40-50 years
  • Early symptoms include stiffness (eg. difficulty in reaching shoe laces) and pain after rest (eg. on waking in morning or long car drives)
  • Risk factors for early hip OA include heavier body types and reduced leg strength


  • Leg strength is King! Getting stronger improves control of the hip and reduces the adverse loading patterns that are irritating the joint cartilage
  • A short course of anti inflammatory meds can help you overcome the symptoms to get started on a strength program
  • Reducing body weight makes a huge difference. With up to 8x your body weight impacting your joint during some activities, every 1kg takes 8kg of pressure off the joint


  • You can’t reverse the internal structural changes but you can reverse the symptoms and get back to pain-free exercise
  • Running doesn’t wear away your joints quicker. In fact your joint quality is better with running if you’ve always been a runner (those who start later in life don’t get the same benefits) and your running load is consistent (ie. no long breaks and sudden increases in volume)
  • You’ll often hear the line from doctors that “you’ll eventually need a hip replacement”. Technically we all will need one if we live to 200, but this doom and gloom phrase doesn’t take into account all the effective strategies that can manage hip OA and avoid the need for replacement (until long after you’re gone)

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