Movements of the hip and gentle stretching exercises are recommended because motion may help lubricate and nourish the joint surfaces. Try to maintain hip motion in all directions unless there is pinching in one particular position. Stretching exercises can be performed to move your leg away from your body in the lying position and in the sitting position. Also gently roll your legs in and then out as far as possible to stretch hip rotation. When lying down, pull one knee to your chest while the other leg is lying as flat as possible on the floor, then repeat with the opposite knee. All stretches should be held for 15-30 seconds in the most stretched position. Stretching for as little as 10 minutes a day can make a big difference in flexibility.
When working on hip strengthening exercises concentrate on hip abduction (moving your leg, at the hip, out to the side, away from the body) and external rotation (rotation of your hip away from the body)
Examples of Hip Abduction exercises:
If you have a leg length discrepancy, a heel lift may be added to your shoe to reduce pain and help with your walking pattern. A physician’s prescription may be required for an orthotist to appropriately prescribe an orthotic. The Physical Therapist can then manage the muscle strengthening, walking pattern, and home program for the patient.
If you have a leg length discrepancy, an insole can be inserted in your shoe or a heel lift may be added to your shoe. Up to 3/8 inch can usually be placed inside a shoe without any problem. When more is needed you should probably obtain a prescription from a physician to have the lift added to the heel of your shoe. A shoe lift occasionally helps reduce pain and improve walking pattern. Other everyday recommendations would include taking the elevator to avoid using stairs and using ice after a busy day to help reduce pain and possibly allow you to better manage your symptoms.
As a general rule, heat is preferred before activities and ice afterwards (like a warming up and cooling down a race horse), However, heat in the evening helps some people because heat helps muscles relax and increases blood flow to the area. Cold is always used to reduce swelling for the first few hours after a fresh injury, but there isn’t a right or wrong answer about heat or cold for pain relief for arthritis. Other everyday recommendations would include taking the elevator to avoid using stairs and using ice after a busy day to help reduce pain and possibly allow you to better manage your symptoms. Depending on the level of dysplasia this may require one or two visits with a local Physical Therapist to teach you the correct way to exercise without causing damage to your hip.
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