Exercises to strengthen gluteus medius

NormanCastle
NormanCastle Member Posts: 12
My wife, who is 56 years old and has a BMI of 22, has just been diagnosed with mild-to-moderate osteoartthiritis in her right hip. I know this in itself doesn't figure very highly in the scale of human suffering, but as it comes on top of a mastectomy and reconstruction six years ago, followed by a total hysterectomy, skin cancer and severe upper quadrant dysfunction as a consequence of the cancer surgery, it's something we could have done without.

The consultant's report says she has subchondrial sclerosis and osteophyte formation, degenerative labral tears and gluteus medius tendinopathy. He is of the opinion that the way forward for the time being is physiotherapy rather than arthroscopy, and he has referred her for NHS physiotherapy. However, we understand that she is unlikely to get an appointment for that until the New Year.

Given that he says "The main line of treatment is going to be exercises to strengthen the gluteus medius muscles and also gentle hip physiotherapy", is there any possible downside to my wife cautiously embarking on some of the less extreme exercises shown on reputable websites for the gluteus medius while we wait?

She is familiar with basic Pilates and has already started doing the Arthritis Research "Exercises for hip pain".

Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,086
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi NormanCastle,

    I just wanted to welcome you to the forum, we have had a few partners contact us for help, it's always so lovely to hear from them. I think you are looking for more expertise than I have personally so I won't offer any pointers myself.

    If you want to talk to members of our helpline team you can give them a ring tomorrow on 0808 800 4050.

    Hope it all goes well for you and your wife
    Take care
    Yvonne x
  • NormanCastle
    NormanCastle Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Yvonne. I will indeed suggest to my wife that she phones.
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,275
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Norman,

    Thank you for your message. I am sorry to read that your wife has experienced so many serious health problems in close succession. All types of arthritis can be challenging, even for people without any other health issues. I hope your wife is able to phone the Arthritis Care Helpline, if talking things through may be helpful. In the meantime, though, I hope this response to your message will help.

    Physiotherapy is usually a helpful treatment for managing mild to moderate osteoarthritis. It is disappointing to hear that your wife is expecting to wait until the New Year for her first physiotherapy appointment. Perhaps it would be worth querying the timescale with your wife’s GP and checking whether there is any possibility of bringing the appointment forward?

    A physiotherapist is the appropriate person to give advice on the details of your wife’s exercise regime, as well as teaching her to perform the exercises correctly. This may require several appointments, so the physiotherapist can monitor how your wife’s condition is changing. What I can say in the meantime is that ARUK’s hip exercises are safe and helpful for most people with hip pain. However, if your wife experiences pain during or after any of these exercises that doesn’t go away quickly, then she should stop doing the exercise and seek advice from her GP.

    It may also be useful for your wife to get an overview of osteoarthritis by reading this Arthritis Care booklet: https://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/do-i-have-arthritis/publications/223-living-with-osteoarthritis. The good news is that osteoarthritis can be managed, and I’m sure others on the forum would be happy to share with your wife the ways of managing it that have worked well for them.

    With best wishes,

    Rachael, Helplines Worker
  • NormanCastle
    NormanCastle Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your helpful reply, Rachael.
    ... It is disappointing to hear that your wife is expecting to wait until the New Year for her first physiotherapy appointment. Perhaps it would be worth querying the timescale with your wife’s GP and checking whether there is any possibility of bringing the appointment forward?

    That would be nice, but alas no chance. Given that it took 16 weeks from referral to actually seeing the consultant, it came as no surprise to find that the waiting list for a physio appointment is lots longer ... :roll:
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't actually follow your last post, Norman. It's a different department so will have a completely different patient list. And probably more personnel per patient.

    I'm just a forum member with RA not a member of the Helpline team but I just thought you should know that it's often possible to get an earlier appointment if you can be available at short notice for a cancellation.

    Sometimes this simply means contacting the department in question to ask them to put you on a list for a cancellation. Sometimes, if they are using a national list, here's how it goes. You log in to the site and, using the password they gave you when you first got the appointment, get the appointments list. Check what's available and, if there's an earlier one, change yours. This is perfectly acceptable and above board. I was advised to do this and my 3 month wait was reduced to about 3 weeks. Of course, you have to log in repeatedly to find a cancellation but I made it after a few days' worth of trying.

    Good luck!
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,275
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Stickywicket,

    Thank you for this helpful information :)

    Best wishes,

    Rachael
  • NormanCastle
    NormanCastle Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    ... but I just thought you should know that it's often possible to get an earlier appointment if you can be available at short notice for a cancellation.

    Indeed, but with a six-month wait for a routine appointment, it seems that there's an awful lot of people hoping for cancellations.
    Sometimes this simply means contacting the department in question to ask them to put you on a list for a cancellation. Sometimes, if they are using a national list, here's how it goes. You log in to the site and, using the password they gave you when you first got the appointment, get the appointments list. Check what's available and, if there's an earlier one, change yours. This is perfectly acceptable and above board. I was advised to do this and my 3 month wait was reduced to about 3 weeks. Of course, you have to log in repeatedly to find a cancellation but I made it after a few days' worth of trying.

    Unfortunately none of that applies in this neck of the woods. There's no online appointments system, nor is there any cancellation list as such. All that happens is that your notes are flagged on the system if you're available at short notice. If a slot becomes available, somebody just scrolls down the list looking for flags, then makes one attempt to phone the first patient they come to.

    At least after 6 years of doing battle with an ever-more-broken NHS, we do know what we're up against, and have learned how to get the best out of it :)
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm sorry you can't seem to get past the system. You are quite right that the NHS is as much in need of physio and TLC as we are.

    I guess the only other option would be a private physio. I suggest this with some hesitation as my experience of private ones is that they are afraid I'll break if they touch me. (I have RA and OA in most joints, some replaced and others fused) whereas NHS ones are usually more prepared to have a go.

    However, I'm also a tad concerned that, with such a long wait, hopes and expectations increase and yours might not be fulfilled at the end of it. Many years ago I had physio sessions 3 days per week for 6 weeks. Nowadays they usually just give you a set of exercises at the first visit then check you're doing them correctly at a second. Third visits, in my more recent experience are rare but also unnecessary if one is doing things correctly.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • NormanCastle
    NormanCastle Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    ...However, I'm also a tad concerned that, with such a long wait, hopes and expectations increase and yours might not be fulfilled at the end of it.

    I think our expectations are realistic. Three years ago, my wife had 11 months of NHS physio for upper quadrant dysfunction. The outcome was (a) no improvement and (b) suspected nerve damage after one of the physios attempted her idea of a fascia release.

    Ref referral times, my wife has an appointment next week with the nearest NHS physio specialising in the treatment of matters arising after cancer surgery. She was referred to that department in February.

    While we were waiting for that to come through, her GP managed to get her referred to a London hospital for the self self same treatment. Her first appointment there was two weeks after they got the referral ...
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I wish your wife well with her physio.

    Would she be willing to join the forum herself so that we could support her on her 'journey of hopeful recovery'? We're very good at supporting people who undertake all sorts of difficult 'marathons' - physio, slimming and cutting back on steroids to name but a few.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • NormanCastle
    NormanCastle Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your kind words, but my wife is not a forum person herself.