Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Joint Pain

Article featured on Brigham Health Hub

If you have sudden or ongoing pain in your knee, hip or shoulder, you may wonder when it’s time to seek medical care for your joint problem. You may be able to manage pain on your own for a while, but how do you know if joint pain is a sign of a serious problem that needs care?

When should you seek care for joint pain?

If you have joint pain or mobility issues, it’s important to contact an orthopedic expert who specializes in treating conditions that affect the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues.

Joint symptoms can be addressed through a range of treatment options and making an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon is often the first step in finding relief. Some of the reasons to see an orthopedic surgeon include:

  • New joint pain that isn’t getting better on its own
  • Chronic joint pain that has lasted for months or years
  • Limited mobility, such as difficulty walking, climbing stairs or reaching above your head
  • Difficulty changing position, such as moving from a sitting position to a standing position
  • New use of a cane, walker or wheelchair due to your joint pain or mobility issues
  • Severe pain that may wake you at night
  • Regular use of over-the-counter medications to manage your joint pain
  • Changes to a joint’s appearance, like a straight leg that has begun to bow

“You shouldn’t have to live with joint pain,” says Jeffrey Lange, MD, a hip and knee surgeon at the Center for Joint Health and Mobility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “If something is wrong, call us to be evaluated. Every evaluation is different, because every patient is unique.”

Delaying joint care can lead to injury and other problems

For patients who have joint pain or mobility issues, it’s important to stay current with your joint health. In some cases, ignoring joint pain for too long may increase pain or mobility problems, or even result in a fall or injury.

“The more proactive you are in preserving your joints, the longer we anticipate they will last,” says Dr. Lange. “Taking care of your joint pain early could delay or prevent the need for surgery. If you do need surgery, having surgery earlier can lead to better outcomes in many cases. The details differ for every person, which is why we always suggest having an evaluation with a clinician to better understand your own unique situation.”

A check-in with your orthopedic specialist can help you understand all the available options for your unique situation. Together, you and your orthopedic specialist can:

  • Address your joint symptoms and concerns
  • Review or order imaging, such as an X-ray or an MRI
  • Discuss exercises or other lifestyle changes that can reduce pain and improve mobility
  • Discuss the role of pain medicine
  • Schedule a cortisone injection to help relieve pain and inflammation in a joint
  • Pursue a referral to physical therapy
  • Discuss joint replacement surgery or another procedure
  • Discuss the risks and benefits of continuing care versus waiting for a period of time

Benefits of virtual care for joint problems

A consultation with an orthopedic specialist can be done in-person or virtually. A virtual visit allows you to accomplish many of the same things you would review during an in-person visit. Many patients are realizing the benefits of virtual care for joint problems, including:

  • Convenience: Patients don’t have to drive to the clinic or hospital. This is particularly helpful for orthopedic patients who may be in pain or who have limited mobility.
  • Saving time: The average virtual visit lasts about 20-30 minutes and doesn’t involve the time needed to do things like travel to an appointment and find your doctor’s office.
  • Connection: Many patients have been able to maintain strong emotional connections with their providers during virtual visits.

“Going to the doctor’s office used to be a half- or even full-day affair for some patients,” says Dr. Lange. “With a virtual visit, patients can meet with me for a short period of time from the comfort of their homes. They feel like they are still connected with their provider without having to put themselves at risk by leaving their home during this difficult time.”

Safe care for joint pain during COVID-19

While many knee, hip and shoulder problems can be addressed remotely, your orthopedic specialist may want to see you in person for a follow-up evaluation. If you need to visit the clinic, your provider can give you an overview of what to expect during your in-person meeting.

Guided by our Safe Care Commitment, the Center for Joint Health and Mobility has put many safety measures in place to provide the safest possible environment for patients during COVID-19. If you need to visit the clinic for an in-person visit, you will encounter the following safety protocols designed to protect patients and staff:

  • A universal masking policy that requires all patients and staff to wear a face mask
  • Screening of all patients and staff to confirm they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Spacing of furniture in waiting rooms and other common spaces to maximize physical distancing
  • Signage that directs foot traffic and optimizes the flow of staff and patients
  • Fewer patients in waiting rooms and fewer providers in clinical spaces at any one time
  • Regular deep cleaning of clinical spaces, waiting rooms and frequently-touched surfaces
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of exam rooms after each visit

Patients who are admitted to the hospital for an orthopedic surgery are required to get a COVID-19 test prior to their scheduled procedure. Patients who test positive for the coronavirus must reschedule their operation.

“Many patients who have joint replacement surgery during the pandemic choose to go home on the same day of their procedure,” says Dr. Lange. “Patients can stay in the hospital after their procedure if they choose, but patients who qualify for a same-day surgery have the option to go home faster if they want.”

Patient-centered approach to caring for your joints

The Center for Joint Health and Mobility at the Brigham is home to expert orthopedic specialists who combine advanced treatments with a modern and personalized approach to manage your joint health.

“We’re not just a joint replacement center, we’re a joint health center,” says Dr. Lange. “We provide a single center where patients can get all of their joint health needs in one place, from rehabilitation specialists to joint replacement surgeons. We take a holistic approach to keeping your joints healthy and in optimal condition for as long as possible.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Chronic Inflammation and Your Joints

Article featured on Harvard Health Publishing

Why the immune system is sometimes the culprit in joint pain.

When you suffer a joint injury — maybe a banged-up knee or a twisted ankle — a little inflammation is part of the healing process. Puffy, red, tender joints may indicate that your immune system is working to remove damage and promote the growth of new tissue, a healthy kind of inflammation. But sometimes the immune system launches unhealthy, chronic inflammation in the joints, for no apparent reason. This leads to pain, stiffness, and joint damage known as inflammatory arthritis.

The attack on joints

It’s often unknown what triggers the immune system to unleash an assault on the joints, but we do know what the cells are up to once they’re in action.

“In a common type of inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, a variety of immune cells can be found in the lining and fluid of the joint. These cells attract other immune cells and together lead to thickening of the joint lining, new blood vessel formation, and — ultimately — joint damage,” says rheumatologist Dr. Robert Shmerling, medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Fighting Inflammation (/ui).

Chronic inflammation in the joints can damage cartilage, bones, tendons (which attach muscle to bones), or ligaments (which hold joints together); irritate nerves; and produce a long list of symptoms, including pain, swelling, and stiffness. The joint damage may be progressive and irreversible.

Types

There are many types of inflammatory arthritis. Common ones include these:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA occurs when the immune system attacks the lining of the joints, especially in the hands, wrists, and feet. RA may also affect the heart, lungs, and eyes.
  • Gout: Gout is characterized by a buildup of uric acid, which can form crystals in the joints — especially in the big toe, and sometimes in the hands, wrists, or knees. The crystals activate a temporary inflammatory response that can become chronic.
  • Calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD, or pseudogout): In CPPD, calcium crystals settle in the joints, especially the knee, wrist, shoulder, ankle, or elbow. Like the uric acid crystals in gout, the calcium crystals in CPPD prompt the body to respond with inflammation; over time, this may become chronic.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: About 30% of people with psoriasis (an autoimmune condition that causes raised patches of scaly skin) develop psoriatic arthritis, which can affect the knees, ankles, wrists, or fingers.

What about osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, a wearing away of the smooth cartilage lining joints, has long been considered a noninflammatory form of arthritis. “But we now recognize that some inflammatory cells are present in osteoarthritis, although the inflammation is usually much less dramatic than in rheumatoid arthritis or other types of inflammatory arthritis,” Dr. Shmerling says.

The finding of mild chronic inflammation in osteoarthritis has been significant enough for researchers to begin investigating whether the condition can be treated with some of the same types of medications used to treat inflammatory arthritis.

Treatment

Many types of drugs are used to treat inflammatory arthritis. They include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which reduce levels of prostaglandins — chemicals that promote inflammation
  • oral or injected steroids, which reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system
  • injections or intravenous infusions of nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which suppress the immune system
  • injections or infusions of biologic DMARDs, that suppress the immune system in a more targeted way than nonbiologic DMARDs
  • Janus kinase inhibitors, which interrupt inflammatory signals
  • drugs that lower uric acid levels (for gout).

Results with drug treatment are often good. “Medications to lower uric acid can essentially eliminate gout. And the development of newer drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, including biologics and Janus kinase inhibitors, makes it possible for far more people than in the past to experience remission and protection from ongoing joint damage,” Dr. Shmerling says.

Other ways to live with arthritis

Other ways to help reduce pain and inflammation include exercising, avoiding processed foods (which promote inflammation), reducing stress, not smoking, and getting enough sleep. Wearing a splint or brace on affected joints and seeking physical therapy may also ease your pain and keep you mobile and active.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

What Are Growing Pains & Are They Real?

Article featured on Nationwide Children’s.
It’s the middle of the night and your child wakes up complaining of leg pain for the third time this week. As a parent, you worry that it might not just be the result of sports practice earlier that day. Is it something much, much worse that you could be overlooking?
“Relax,” says Elise Berlan, MD. The discomfort may simply be from “growing pains.” Medically, growing pains aren’t a big deal, but they can prompt tears, sleeplessness and concerns for all involved.
Here are some common questions about growing pains, how to help your child through them, and when it may be time to see your pediatrician.

What Are Growing Pains?

Children, from preschoolers to preteens, typically experience growing pains as a dull, throbbing ache in both of their legs or calf muscles. The pains come and go, can occur in the day or evening, and can even wake a child up from sleep.
Many people assume that growing pains start in the bones – but there isn’t any scientific evidence that the discomfort is related to bone growth. Some experts think what we know as “growing pains” could be because of a lower pain threshold to muscle strains that are caused by normal play.

Who Gets Growing Pains?

Twenty-five to forty percent of children will experience growing pains at some point in their lives, and are slightly more common in girls than boys. Growing pains seem to happen during the preschool years and again during preteen years, with most cases reported between the ages of three to five and the ages of eight to 12.

What Helps Relieve the Pain?

  • Heating pads
  • Massage
  • Cuddles and distraction with a movie or toy
  • Stretching
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Ibuprofen can upset the stomach, so give it with food or milk. Never give a child aspirin because it can cause a rare reaction called Reye syndrome.

When Should My Child See a Doctor?

Growing pains never affect a child’s joints, and the pain typically only lasts a few hours at a time. If your child is complaining of long-lasting joint pain or joint pain in the morning, or if the joints look red or swollen, then go see your pediatrician. Also make a doctor’s appointment if the pain is accompanied by limping, fever, rash, changes in appetite, weakness or tiredness.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Types of Joint Pain and Tips for Describing to Your Orthopedic Surgeon

Article featured on Arkansas Surgical Hospital
Joint pain can be debilitating, limiting daily activities and draining you both physically and emotionally.  In many instances, joint discomfort is the result of some type of arthritis.  There are various treatment options, including medications, physical therapy, injections, alternative therapies, and surgical solutions, depending on the severity of your joint pain and the damage to the joints.

Is It Joint Pain or Bone Pain?

Accurately describing your joint pain to your orthopedic surgeon can help them determine what treatment is best for you.  Joint pain is different from bone pain and can vary in sensation and severity.  Clearly explaining the feeling is crucial to appropriate diagnosis and treatment.  Bone pain is typically sharp and localized to a specific area, while joint pain tends to be more of an ache and occurs only in the affect joints, not all along a bone.  However, if the joint damage is severe, it may feel quite intense due to missing or damaged cartilage leading to bones grinding against each other.  Joint pain often increases with overactivity or too much weight on the joint.

Be Accurate When Describing Joint Pain

Saying that your joints are stiff isn’t helpful to your doctor or surgeon because it is too vague.  Pinpointing how much pain you’re in, what kind of pain you’re feeling, and how it impacts your ability to use the joints are all part of describing pain accurately.  Osteoarthritis pain tends to feel different from rheumatoid arthritis and other sources of joint pain, so be precise and thorough.  The more detailed your description is, the easier it is for your surgeon to determine the root of the problem.

Where is the Pain Located?

If you have joint pain in your knees, explain whether you feel it in the kneecap area, the back of the joint, or on the sides.  The knee’s complex ligaments and bone structure mean there is more than one kind of knee joint pain.  If you have joint pain in the hands, tell your doctor which joints are affected.  For instance, osteoarthritis is more common in the joints at the end of the fingers, while rheumatoid arthritis isn’t as likely in these joints.  Narrow down the area as much as possible.

What Kind of Pain Is It?

There are many kinds of pain, and the form it takes is critical when diagnosing and treating joint issues.  Descriptive words are helpful, as are comparisons such as, “It feels like something is caught in the joint.”  Here are some excellent descriptions you can use:

  • Crunching or Grinding.  When bones are rubbing against each other, you may feel like the joint is grinding rather than moving smoothly.  It may feel like gravel in the joint.
  • Snapping, Crackling, or Popping.  This is the sensation of something releasing or popping out of place and is often accompanied by a popping sound.  Osteoarthritis often leads to snapping or crackling in the joints.
  • Throbbing.  If the joint pain feels like it pulses, make sure your surgeon knows.
  • Dull or Achy.  Your pain can be dull (rather like a bruise) but still be severe.  Dull pain or aching can be an underlying, constant pain with periodic flares of other kinds of pain such as stabbing or burning sensations.
  • Stabbing.  Does it feel like somebody stuck a knife in your joint?  Your surgeon needs to know if the stabbing pain is consistent, periodic, or linked to any activities or other circumstances such as standing for long periods.
  • Burning.  Some patients describe burning pain as the joint burning from the inside or a hot sensation in the joints.
  • Radiating.  If you have pain that starts in one area then travels toward another, it is described as radiating pain.  Some people experience hip pain that radiates down the leg when they try to put weight on it.  This may indicate nerve involvement in addition to problems with the joint itself.

The When and Why of Joint Pain

Joint pain isn’t always constant.  It can come and go depending on what you’re doing and the time of day.  Make sure your surgeon knows if your pain seems to flare when you participate in in certain activities or gets worse during specific times.  If your pain is more significant when you wake up in the morning or is aggravated after activities, tell your doctor.  Some forms of arthritis may cause greater pain after you’ve been moving around a lot, while others may be worse after you’ve been inactive for too long.  If your joints lock up, give way, or feel weak or unstable, your doctor needs to know this, particularly if increased pain results.
The duration of your pain is another element of the “when” of joint pain.  While your knees or hips may hurt a lot when you first wake up in the morning, how long it lasts can indicate whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.  It can also help define the severity of the problem.  Does the discomfort after exercising last 30 minutes or several hours?  Is the pain worse when walking up a hill or a flight of stairs?  Details like this can aid your surgeon in a correct arthritis diagnosis.
Finally, be sure to inform your doctor of any other elements that affect your joint pain.  Pain that flares during certain types of weather, when you’re under stress, or when you are tired may help pinpoint an arthritis diagnosis or indicate other underlying issues.

The Severity of Joint Pain

Many physicians use a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning little to no pain and 10 meaning unbearable pain.  No one experiences pain the same way others do, but the pain scale helps doctors get an idea of how severe your discomfort is and how much it impacts your life.

  • 0 = No pain
  • 1 = Occasional, minimal pain
  • 2 = Mildly annoying, not constant
  • 3 = Painful enough to distract you if not busy
  • 4 = Maybe distracting even when occupied
  • 5 = Can’t be ignored for long stretches, but you can still do things (although uncomfortably)
  • 6 = Can’t ignore your pain
  • 7 = Difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and socializing
  • 8 = Physical limitations and difficulty with normal functioning, nausea, and dizziness
  • 9 = Crying, inability to speak, possibly passing out from the pain
  • 10 = Unconsciousness

Successfully Treating Arthritis Pain

The two most common forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, generally require different approaches, making the proper diagnosis critical when you’re suffering from joint pain.  Arthritis surgery is one of many options available to minimize discomfort and increase range of motion.  Still, your surgeon will usually recommend it only after you’ve tried other treatments such as medications and physical therapy.
Arthritis pain may be the result of a variety of triggers, including:

  • Cracks or chips in the affected bones
  • Inflammation of the tendons and muscles around arthritic joints
  • Bone spurs
  • Muscle spasms caused by irritation from damaged bone
  • Decreased blood flow in arthritic joints
  • Loss of synovium between the bones

With so many potential causes of joint pain and a wide range of treatment options, accurately describing your pain to your surgeon is the first step in finding the best treatment for you and getting you back to doing the activities you enjoy.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Potential causes of stiff joints and what to do about them

Featured on MedicalNewsToday

Many people experience stiff joints as they age. Others may experience joint stiffness due to medical conditions and lifestyle choices. Sometimes, people can treat stiff joints at home.

Many people who experience joint stiffness tend to feel it after sitting for prolonged periods or after first waking up. Some people experience a mild discomfort that goes away after moving again. Others find that the stiffness lasts longer and is more uncomfortable.
In more severe situations, stiff joints may impact a person’s mobility. People may have difficulty putting weight on their joints, or they may have problems standing or walking.

What are the causes?

Most people will experience joint stiffness at some point, but the reasons for the discomfort may vary based on a variety of factors. Some causes are more severe than others.
Causes of stiff joints include:

Sleeping posture

Many times the way people sleep at night can contribute to joint stiffness.
When a person does not sleep in a way that aligns the spine and keeps their neck in a neutral position, they may wake up feeling stiff or achy.
People who sleep on their sides may want to avoid lying on a particular side if it is already feeling stiff. Using a variety of pillows around the body can help keep it in the right sleep position for a good night’s rest and less joint stiffness.

Time of day

In addition to sleeping posture, research shows that joint stiffness may be more severe in the morning when a person first wakes up due to a correlation between inflammation and a person’s circadian clock. This is more likely in cases of joint stiffness resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, there is some evidence that poor sleep may make joint discomfort worse at night. This, in turn, contributes to poor sleep. For this reason, people who have conditions like arthritis may struggle to get enough rest at night.

Age

Older adults may have stiffer joints simply because of a lifetime of use. Over time, a person’s range of joint motion becomes more restricted. A person may also become less flexible.
The cartilage, which is the cushion that protects the connection between a person’s bones, also begins to wear down. This causes inflammation and can lead to arthritis.

Obesity

When a person is overweight, their weight is higher than what doctors consider healthy for their height. The most common way to measure this is with the Body Mass Index (BMI). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define BMI higher than 25 as overweight, higher than 30 as obese, and higher than 40 as severely obese.
When the body carries additional weight, this weight places extra pressure on the joints. In addition, fat cells can release proteins into the body that can cause inflammation. Both of these factors together may lead to arthritis, which can cause joint stiffness.
In addition, research shows that being overweight may cause all kinds of metabolic problems in the body, which may have a negative effect on bone health.

Diet

Eating animal and dairy products may play a role in triggering conditions that can cause joint stiffness such as gout or arthritis.
When people eat more of these foods and fewer plant-based foods, they may be more susceptible to joint stiffness.
Research shows that choosing some variation of a Mediterranean or vegan diet may help reduce stiffness. Specifically, eating more fiber, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, probiotics, herbs, and spices may be beneficial.

Bursitis

Bursitis develops when tiny, fluid-filled sacs in the joints called bursae become inflamed. The inflammation causes pain as well as stiffness.
Bursitis can happen in nearly any joint, but it is most common in larger joints, such as:

  • shoulders
  • hips
  • knees
  • ankles
  • elbow

Bursitis usually heals by itself with rest. A person should typically reduce activities that move the joint and rest the joint for long periods.
Resting the joint allows the bursae to recover, causing the pain and stiffness to go away.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis that affects over 32.5 million people in the United States. This type of arthritis is due to wear and tear and is, therefore, more frequently seen in people over the age of 65.
Osteoarthritis often affects:

  • fingers
  • hips
  • knees
  • back
  • neck

As it progresses it can cause: swelling and pain, as well as cracking noises with movement.
Treatments usually center around relieving pain and reducing swelling in the joints. People whose osteoarthritis is particularly painful and debilitating may require surgery.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another common arthritis that affects about 1.5 million people in the U.S. RA typically appears in adults between the ages of 30 and 60.
RA is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack otherwise healthy joints. People with RA will experience pain and swelling as the body attacks the joints.
There is no cure for RA. Treatments focus on slowing the progression of the disease.

Lupus

Lupus is another autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, such as muscles and joints. When lupus attacks the joints, symptoms include:

  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • pain

Lupus is often difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to other medical conditions. There is no cure and symptoms will get worse over time.
Treatment focuses on treating the symptoms. Available treatments can be effective in helping people find symptom relief.

Gout

Gout is a sudden onset arthritis that tends to affect males more often than females. Gout is a condition that develops quickly, with symptoms sometimes appearing overnight, often in the big toe.
Symptoms include:

  • severe pain
  • severe tenderness
  • stiff joints
  • swelling and increased warmth of the joint

Gout can develop in any joint. Gout will typically appear for a short period and go away. People with gout often get symptoms on and off throughout their life.
Treatment focuses on reducing the severity of the symptoms and lowering levels of uric acid in the blood.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes a person pain throughout the body. This condition also includes joint stiffness as one of its symptoms.
Because people who have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis may be more prone to this condition, these people may be at more particular risk for joint stiffness.

Bone cancer

While there are different types of bone cancer, the most common kind is osteosarcoma.
While cancer doesn’t cause joint stiffness often, it may do so occasionally. When a person gets stiff joints due to bone cancer, they usually get in the arms and the legs.

Treatment

There are many over-the-counter (OTC) and home remedies to help alleviate joint stiffness, pain, and swelling. One type of OTC medication a person can take is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include medications like ibuprofen (Advil), as well as other pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
For people who experience severe joint stiffness as a result of conditions like arthritis, recent research still shows NSAIDs may be more effective than opioids like morphine.
It is essential that people speak to their doctor if the cause of the joint pain is unknown, comes on suddenly, or is accompanied by other symptoms.

What are the home remedies?

People can also choose to try home remedies to reduce joint stiffness along with any other treatments that a doctor has recommended or prescribed.
Home remedies can include:

  • using hot and cold compresses
  • losing excess weight
  • Exercising
  • eating a balanced diet
  • taking supplements, such as fish oil

When to see a doctor

People do not need to see their doctor if joint stiffness typically occurs first thing in the morning or after sitting for extended periods. However, they should consult a doctor if stiffness comes on suddenly or does not go away after a few days.
People should also speak to their doctor if they have:

  • rapid swelling
  • severe pain
  • deformity of the joints
  • joint redness that is hot to touch
  • loss of mobility in the joint

Stiff joints can be a sign of a more significant health problem. People should speak to their doctor about their symptoms if in any doubt.

Summary

Many people will experience joint stiffness as they age. Most often this stiffness will wear off after a person gets up and moves around. Other people, however, may experience joint stiffness as a result of an underlying condition.
Anyone who has any doubt about the cause of their joint stiffness should speak to their doctor to help rule out or treat a potential underlying condition. With proper treatment and some home remedies, a person can typically relieve their stiff joints.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Have Joint Pain? Follow These Tips for A Safe Summer

Article featured on Arkansas Surgical Hospital
Summer is on the way, and everyone is looking forward to getting outside and being more active. If you suffer from joint pain due to arthritis or injuries, it’s essential to follow a few safety tips to ensure you don’t aggravate your joints. Exercising with arthritis is vital to maintaining joint health and mobility, but it must be done safely. If you overdo things, your joint pain can flare up and put you back on the couch or in your doctor’s office.

Can I Exercise with Joint Pain?

Don’t hesitate to exercise because of joint pain. Arthritis does not have to stop you from living a healthy, active life! Not only can proper exercise help alleviate joint pain over time, but it can lead to several other benefits, including:

  • Improving your flexibility and muscle strength, which can take some of the strain off your arthritic joints
  • Improving your cardiac health
  • Losing weight
  • Increasing the level of endorphins in your system, which contributes to feelings of well-being while reducing pain perception

Low-impact exercise programs are the best option for anyone with arthritis. These activities provide a good workout without overly stressing the joints. The risks of overuse, overextension, and inflammation are much lower if you opt for low-impact exercise that doesn’t put too much pressure on the joints.

What Are Some Low-Impact Exercise Options?

There are a few different types of low-impact exercise you can try, and they vary depending on your goals and preferences.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise focuses on improving your endurance and cardiovascular health. Some low-impact aerobic exercises include bicycling, swimming, elliptical machines, yoga, and kayaking or rowing. You can also find low-impact aerobic exercise routines online and at your local gym.
While aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and makes you break a sweat, it doesn’t jar the joints. Twenty minutes to a half-hour of aerobic or endurance exercise three times a week is a good baseline. If you’re just starting out, you can try splitting your exercises into ten-minute increments.

Range-of-Motion Exercise

Range-of-motion exercise is all about flexibility and maintaining safe, healthy joint motion. Dance, yoga, tai chi, and programs focusing on fully extending your joints can help maintain flexibility and alleviate joint stiffness. If you have a physical therapist, they can recommend range-of-motion exercises you can do at home. You can safely do range-of-motion exercises every day. Aim for at least every other day for the best results.

Strengthening Exercise

Strengthening exercise is focused on building and maintaining muscle strength. The stronger the muscles in and around your arthritic joints become, the more support your joints will have, helping protect them from damage.
Weightlifting (within reasonable boundaries) and resistance exercises will make you stronger while improving your overall health. Remember that you must allow your muscles and joints to rest and recover, so don’t do strength training every day—every other day is enough. Always stop if your joint becomes inflamed or you feel a sudden, sharp pain.

Tips & Tricks for Exercising with Arthritis

Any time you exercise, it is important to keep safety in mind. This is even more important if you have arthritis and run the risk of inflammation, pain, or injury.
Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when exercising with arthritis:

Getting Started

  • Look for low-impact exercises online. You’ll find step-by-step instructions and videos geared toward those exercising with arthritis.
  • Workouts done in water are less stressful to your joints. You can find water aerobics classes at many gyms and health clubs.
  • Not sure if the exercise you’re considering is low-impact? Use this as a general rule of thumb: if at least one of your feet is on the ground at all times, it’s low-impact. For example, walking is low-impact, but running is not.
  • Invest in supportive athletic shoes appropriate for your chosen activities to reduce the chance of injury.

Before Exercising

  • Always consult with your doctor before beginning any low-impact exercise. Follow their recommendations about the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
  • Do not exercise when you are suffering from an arthritis flare-up. This can increase pain and inflammation.
  • Apply heat before exercising to relax the joints. Warm towels or a soothing shower can help.
  • A five-minute warmup is essential before exercising to loosen stiff joints and minimize the risk of injury.

While Exercising

  • Make sure to use proper posture and techniques when exercising to avoid stress to your joints or tears in your tendons.
  • Start slow. Ten minutes of exercise several days a week is a good start, working up to 30 minutes or more at each session.
  • If your joint starts to burn or become visibly swollen, stop exercising. Even low-impact workouts can be overdone.
  • Avoid sharp or jerky movements. Low-impact workouts are designed to be fluid and responsive rather than aggressive. Cycling fast is fine, but trying to do jumps or tricks isn’t a good idea.
  • While exercise is healthy for those with joint pain, overheating is not! Exercise indoors or during the cooler times of the day (morning and evening) to minimize overheating, which can trigger arthritis flare-ups.

After Exercising

  • Icing your joints after exercising can reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Mild soreness after exercise is normal, but if it lasts more than a few hours, you may have overdone it. Take a break for a day or two, then start back slowly.

Other Ways to Minimize Summer Joint Pain

Summer heat can also contribute to joint pain in a few unexpected ways. For example, it’s easy to become dehydrated when you’re outside on a hot day. When you’re dehydrated, your body is low on electrolytes, which can cause joint inflammation. Remember to drink lots of water and sports drinks when you spend time outdoors.
It may be tempting to stay inside where it’s air-conditioned, but don’t avoid the sun! Your body craves vitamin D, and a deficiency in the “sunshine vitamin” can lead to increased joint pain and weaker bones. Try to spend at least a half-hour in the sun each day, being sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses.
Finally, stress can also contribute to summer joint pain. Although you can’t avoid all stressors in your life, try to minimize anxiety. Don’t feel obligated to say “yes” to every invitation, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Have a Safe & Happy Summer

Don’t let joint pain sideline you during the summer months. Exercising, paying attention to your health, and participating in safe activities helps you maintain a healthy body while protecting your joints.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment

Article on WebMD, reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on March 15, 2020
The hip joint can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint — the body’s largest — fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.
Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket. Despite its durability, the hip joint isn’t indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. Bones in the hip can break during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain. If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of what might be causing your discomfort and how to get hip pain relief.

Causes of Hip Pain

These are some of the conditions that commonly cause hip pain:
Arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. The pain gradually gets worse. People with arthritis also feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip. Learn more about hip osteoarthritis.
Hip fractures. With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to break during a fall. Learn more about hip fracture symptoms.
Bursitis. Bursae are sacs of liquid found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. They ease the friction from these tissues rubbing together. When bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain. Inflammation of bursae is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint. Learn more about bursitis of the hip.
Tendinitis. Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons. It’s usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse. Learn more about tendinitis symptoms.
Muscle or tendon strain. Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When they become inflamed due to overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from working normally. Learn about the best stretches for tight hip muscles.
Hip labral tear. This is a rip in the ring of cartilage (called the labrum) that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. Along with cushioning your hip joint, your labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket. Athletes and people who perform repetitive twisting movements are at higher risk of developing this problem. Learn more about hip labral tears.
Cancers. Tumors that start in the bone or that spread to the bone can cause pain in the hips, as well as in other bones of the body. Learn more about bone tumors​​​​​​​.
Avascular necrosis (also called osteonecrosis). This condition happens when blood flow to the hip bone slows and the bone tissue dies. Although it can affect other bones, avascular necrosis most often happens in the hip. It can be caused by a hip fracture or dislocation, or from the long-term use of high-dose steroids (such as prednisone), among other causes.

Symptoms of Hip Pain

Depending on the condition that’s causing your hip pain, you might feel the discomfort in your:

  • Thigh
  • Inside of the hip joint
  • Groin
  • Outside of the hip joint
  • Buttocks

Sometimes pain from other areas of the body, such as the back or groin (from a hernia), can radiate to the hip.You might notice that your pain gets worse with activity, especially if it’s caused by arthritis. Along with the pain, you might have reduced range of motion. Some people develop a limp from persistent hip pain.

Hip Pain Relief

If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication.
Another way to relieve hip pain is by holding ice to the area for about 15 minutes a few times a day. Try to rest the affected joint as much as possible until you feel better. You may also try heating the area. A warm bath or shower can help ready your muscle for stretching exercises that can lessen pain.
If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises, stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. For example, swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis. Physical therapy can also help increase your range of motion.
When osteoarthritis becomes so severe that the pain is intense or the hip joint becomes deformed, a total hip replacement (arthroplasty) may be a consideration. People who fracture their hip sometimes need surgery to fix the fracture or replace the hip.
Call your health care provider if your pain doesn’t go away, or if you notice swelling, redness, or warmth around the joint. Also call if you have hip pain at night or when you are resting.
Get medical help right away if:

  • The hip pain came on suddenly.
  • A fall or other injury triggered the hip pain.
  • Your joint looks deformed or is bleeding.
  • You heard a popping noise in the joint when you injured it.
  • The pain is intense.
  • You can’t put any weight on your hip.
  • You can’t move your leg or hip.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Why are my RA symptoms getting worse?

From WebMD, medically reviewed on October 8, 2020
Getting control of you moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult, here are some common reasons why.

You’re Having a Flare

Red, warm, swollen joints are inflamed. A flare is when inflammation in your body spikes. Your symptoms can get worse. You might also have a mild fever, fatigue, and feel sick all over. To treat a flare, your doctor might adjust your medicine to lower the inflammation. To feel better, get more rest and apply hot or cold packs to sore, swollen joints.

You’re Under Pressure

Stress, anxiety, and even depression are common with RA. It’s more than just a bad mood. Depression can make it hard for you to manage your symptoms. Stress tells your body to release cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone. But ongoing stress triggers too much cortisol. This makes pain feel worse. Find ways to relax, like yoga, bubble baths, or exercise.

Your Sleep Cycle Is Off

RA pain and sleep trouble are a vicious cycle. If you’re in pain, you can’t sleep well. If you don’t get enough rest, your symptoms get worse. Good habits can help you get the downtime you need. Use guided imagery to distract you from the pain. Take pain meds before bedtime so you can nod off more easily. Switch off your phone and bedside clock. Their lights can disturb your slumber.

Your Meds No Longer Help

Even if what you’re taking has kept your RA under control for a while, things can change. If your body starts to resist current treatments, your symptoms may get worse. Talk to your doctor. You may be able to change to a new treatment. If you’re on a biologic, they might add other rheumatoid arthritis drugs to get your symptoms under control.

You Have Another Disease, Too

As if RA isn’t enough to handle, you can get related conditions that cause similar symptoms. People with RA are more likely to get fibromyalgia, too. It causes chronic pain, fatigue, and tender points that mimic RA. Your doctor can diagnose fibro to be sure it’s the cause of your problems and suggest treatment.

You’re Out of Remission

The goal of RA treatment is to make disease activity stop or slow down greatly so you have few or no symptoms. Doctors call this remission. But it doesn’t always last. RA might return and get worse. Over the years, your symptoms can come and go. See your doctor to adjust your medications.

You Don’t Exercise Enough

RA joint pain and stiffness can make you want to stay on the couch. But if you don’t move your joints, your symptoms will get worse. Exercise actually helps ease RA pain and fatigue. Try to get some activity every day. Walk, bike, or swim to rev up your heart. Do range-of-motion stretches to keep your joints limber. Work your muscles so they stay strong.

You Just Had a Baby

RA symptoms often ease up when you’re pregnant. But this can end soon after delivery. It’s hard to care for a baby when you have severe joint pain and fatigue, too. Your doctor can prescribe treatments that control your symptoms but are also safe for your baby if you plan to breastfeed.

You’re Carrying Extra Pounds

Added weight puts more stress on inflamed joints, which leads to more pain. Too much fat in your body can release hormones that worsen RA inflammation.  Your treatments may not work as well if you’re overweight. Exercise daily, and get help from a nutritionist if you struggle to stay at a healthy weight.

You Smoke

If you have RA and smoke, you should quit! Smokers with RA who quit often see symptoms improve. Smoking raises the odds that you’ll get RA in the first place. It can also affect the way your RA drugs work. They may not control your symptoms like they should. And it can zap your energy so you don’t exercise, which could ease your joint pain. Quit smoking or get help to kick the habit.

You’ve Been Too Active

Exercise is good for your RA, but you can overdo it. If you’ve been active all day, take time to relax. Rest can cool inflamed joints and help you bounce back from fatigue. Take breaks so you don’t get hurt. A physical therapist can teach you how to protect your joints, prevent painful muscle spasms, and exercise safely.

You’re Low on Vitamin D

People with RA often have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies. If you don’t have enough, your RA could become more active. That can lead to painful inflammation and even bone loss over time. Low vitamin D can worsen pain and fatigue. Your doctor can test your blood to measure your levels. More time in the sun (with sunscreen) and supplements might give you what you need.

You Have an Infection

RA and the treatments you take for it make you more likely to get an infection. Your immune system is overworked already, so it’s hard for it to fight off common bugs. Even seasonal flu can trigger RA symptoms. It also puts you at risk for septic arthritis, which causes severe pain in your knees, hips, or shoulders. Get the vaccines that your doctor suggests, such as a yearly flu shot.

You Stopped Taking Your Meds

Maybe they’re too expensive. Or perhaps you felt better so you thought it was OK to ditch your meds. But symptoms may flare up if you stop your medications. Talk to your doctor. You might be able to switch to a drug that doesn’t have as many side effects, or take a lower dose.

You Were Diagnosed Late

Your RA symptoms may be worse if you had the disease for years before you knew it. If it isn’t spotted and treated early, inflammation can lead to joint pain, damage, and deformity that won’t get better. Physical therapy may help you move better and ease your pain. Surgery can also replace your damaged joint with a new one.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Everything You Need to Know about Fibromyalgia

Everything You Need to Know about Fibromyalgia

From Medical News Today

Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic syndrome that causes bodily pain and mental distress.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be confused with those of arthritis, or joint inflammation. However, unlike arthritis, it has not been found to cause joint or muscle inflammation and damage. It is seen as a rheumatic condition, in other words, one that causes soft tissue pain or myofascial pain.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women.

Fast facts on fibromyalgia:

Here are some key points about fibromyalgia. More detail is in the main article.

  • Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other types of discomfort.
  • Symptoms resemble those of arthritis, but fibromyalgia affects the soft tissue, not the joints.
  • The cause is unknown, but risk factors include traumatic injury, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, and genetic factors.
  • There is no cure, but medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy can help relieve symptoms and improve sleep quality.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • widespread pain
  • jaw pain and stiffness
  • pain and tiredness in the face muscles and adjacent fibrous tissues
  • stiff joints and muscles in the morning
  • headaches
  • irregular sleep patterns
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • painful menstrual periods
  • tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • sensitivity to cold or heat
  • difficulties with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”
  • fatigue

The following are also possible:

  • problems with vision
  • nausea
  • pelvic and urinary problems
  • weight gain
  • dizziness
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • skin problems
  • chest symptoms
  • depression and anxiety
  • breathing problems

Symptoms can appear at any time during a person’s life, but they are most commonly reported around the age of 45 years.

Treatment

Medical attention is needed because fibromyalgia can be difficult to manage. As it is a syndrome, each patient will experience a different set of symptoms, and an individual treatment plan will be necessary.

Treatment may include some or all of the following:

  • an active exercise program
  • acupuncture
  • psychotherapy
  • behavior modification therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • massage
  • physical therapy
  • low-dose anti-depressants, although these are not a first-line treatment

People with fibromyalgia need to work with their doctor to come up with a treatment plan that provides the best results.

Medications

Medications may be recommended to treat certain symptoms.

These may include over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. However, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued a recommendation against using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat fibromyalgia in their updated 2016 guidelines.

Antidepressants may help reduce pain. Anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin also known as Neurontin, and pregabalin, or Lyrica, may be prescribed.

However, a review has suggested that patients often stop using these drugs because they are not effective in relieving pain or because of their adverse effects.

Patients should tell the doctor about any other medications they are taking to avoid side-effects and interactions with other drugs.

Exercise

A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training, or strength training, has been linked to a reduction in pain, tenderness, stiffness, and sleep disturbance, in some patients.

If exercise is helping with symptoms, it is important to maintain consistency in order to see progress. Working out with a partner or personal trainer may help to keep the exercise program active.

Acupuncture

Some patients have experienced improvements in their quality of life after starting acupuncture therapy for fibromyalgia. The number of sessions required will depend on the symptoms and their severity.

One study found that 1 in 5 people with fibromyalgia use acupuncture within 2 years of diagnosis. The researchers concluded that it may improve pain and stiffness. However, they call for more studies.

Behavior modification therapy

Behavior modification therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that aims to reduce negative, stress- or pain-increasing behaviors and improve positive, mindful behaviors. It includes learning new coping skills and relaxation exercises.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Exercises and Stretches For Hip Pain

Exercises and Stretches for Hip Pain

From Versus Arthritis

Here are some exercises designed to stretch, strengthen and stabilize the structures that support your hip.

It’s important to keep active – you should try to do the exercises that are suitable for you every day. Repeat each exercise between 5–10 times and try to do the whole set of exercises 2-3 times a day.

Start by exercising gradually and build up over time. Remember to carry on even when your hip is better to prevent your symptoms returning.

If you have any questions about exercising, ask your doctor.

It’s also a good idea to try to increase your general fitness by going for a regular walk or swim, this will strengthen your whole body – which helps support your hip. It can also improve your general health, fitness and outlook.

Simple stretching, strengthening and stabilising exercises

The following exercises are designed to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the structures that support your hip. These exercises for hip pain (PDF, 983 KB) are also available to download and keep.

It’s important not to overstretch yourself if you’re in pain. It’s normal to feel some aching in the muscles after exercising, but you should stop and seek advice if you have joint pain that lasts more than a few days.

If you’ve had a hip replacement you will probably be advised to take it easy for the first six weeks and not to push yourself too much. Ask your physiotherapist what exercises they recommend you should start with and how to do them.

You may feel slightly uncomfortable during or after exercise, but this should settle within 24 hours. It shouldn’t be painful. If you feel any sudden pain stop exercising and seek medical advice.

An illustration of someone marching on the spot.

Hip flexion (strengthening)

Hold onto a work surface and march on the spot to bring your knees up towards your chest alternately. Don’t bring your thigh above 90 degrees.

An illustration of someone standing whilst holding onto a table, moving their leg backwards and keeping it straight.

Hip extension (strengthening)

Move your leg backwards, keeping your knee straight. Clench your buttock tightly and hold for five seconds. Don’t lean forwards. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

An illustration of someone standing and holding onto a chair, lifting their leg sideways.

Hip abduction (strengthening)

Lift your leg sideways, being careful not to rotate the leg outwards. Hold for five seconds and bring it back slowly, keeping your body straight throughout. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

An illustration of someone standing whilst holding onto a table, bending their knee towards their bottom.

Heel to buttock exercise (strengthening)

Bend your knee to pull your heel up towards your bottom. Keep your knees in line and your kneecap pointing towards the floor.

An illustration of someone squatting down, bringing their knees towards their toes.

Mini squat (strengthening)

Squat down until your knees are above your toes. Hold for a count of five if possible. Hold on to a work surface for support if you need to.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with one bent leg and one straight leg with a towel under it's knee. They're raising their foot off the floor.

Short arc quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Roll up a towel and place it under your knee. Keep the back of your thigh on the towel and straighten your knee to raise your foot off the floor. Hold for five seconds and then lower slowly.

An illustration of someone laying down with their legs straight, pulling their toes and ankles towards them whilst pushing their knees to the floor.

Quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Pull your toes and ankles towards you, while keeping your leg straight and pushing your knee firmly against the floor. You should feel the tightness in the front of your leg. Hold for five seconds and relax. This exercise can be done from a sitting position as well if you find this more comfortable.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with their knees bent and hands under the small of their back. They're pulling their belly towards the floor.

Stomach exercise (strengthening/ stabilising)

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Put your hands under the small of your back and pull your belly button down towards the floor. Hold for 20.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with their feet to standing, lifting their pelvis and lower back off the floor.

Bridging

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower down slowly.

An illustration of someone laying on their back and pulling their knee toward their chest.

Knee lift (stretch)

Lie on your back. Pull each knee to your chest in turn, keeping the other leg straight. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times. If this is difficult, try sliding your heel along the floor towards your bottom to begin with, and when this feels comfortable try lifting your knee.

An illustration of someone sitting with their knees bent and feet together, pressing their knees downwards.

External hip rotation (stretch)

Site you your knees bent and feet together. Press your knees down towards the floor using your hands as needed. Alternatively, lie on your back and part your knees, keeping your feet together. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.