Hip joint study aims to slow osteoarthritis

A world-first Griffith University study will design and test a new treatment to slow hip osteoarthritis (OA) progression.

Using real-time biofeedback technology to personalise and enhance motor learning, researchers will test any sustained effects of load modification on healthy volunteers withhipOA.

Dr Laura Diamond
Dr Laura Diamond

“A number of external biomechanical parameters, primarily relating to trunk and pelvis postion are thought to be responsible for abnormal hip joint loading in hip OA,’’ says lead researcher Dr Laura Diamond from the School of Allied Health Sciences.

“Our team has pioneered sophisticated, mechanics-based computational models to calculate patient-specific hips joint loads and the contribution from muscles crossing the hip joint during habitual tasks, like walking in real-time.

“Abnormal hip joint loading may play an important role in hip OA progression and is potentially modifiable with movement retraining.”

Dr Diamond said while interventions targeting load modifications in knee OA had achieved improvement in symptoms in patients, the complex anatomical structures of the hip joint and surrounding musculature, had made, until now, estimating internal hip joint loads unchievable.

“We want to prove whether simple modifications to the way people with hip OA walk can slow or halt the progression of the disease. We will assess those with mild-to-moderate hip OA who are prime candidates for targeted disease modifying interventions.”

The researchers are looking for volunteers aged 50 years or older, who have had hip pain for at least three months on most days of the week, are able to walk independently for at least 20 minutes, three times a week and do not have any other joint or muscle problems.

Find out more about the hip study.

About OA
Hip and knee OA is the most common chronic joint disease in Australia affecting 1 in 8 people. There is no cure for OA and direct healthcare costs for the disease in Australia are forecast to increase 38% by 2030. Joint replacement surgery is the main driver of OA-related health care costs and hip joint replacement rates have increased 77% over the past decade.