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Acupuncture for Hip Osteoarthritis and Groin Pain


Osteoarthritis, also known as hypertrophic arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease characterized by regressive changes in the joint cartilage and bone growth at the joint margins. It commonly affects large joints such as the hips and knees, as well as smaller joints like those in the spine. Hip osteoarthritis often causes pain localized around the greater trochanter of the femur and is frequently associated with groin pain. Acupuncture has shown satisfactory results in treating this condition.


Due to the size and depth of the hip joint, pain can manifest not only in the lateral buttock and the greater trochanter area but also radiate to the groin and the inner thigh. Therefore, significant tender points are often found in these regions. Stimulating these tender points, particularly in the greater trochanter region, is key to enhancing the therapeutic effect of acupuncture in treating hip osteoarthritis. However, as there are no specific acupoints recorded in the greater trochanter area, the identified tender points are referred to as "Ah Shi" points. If tender points cluster around the greater trochanter, multiple needles can be inserted in a small area, known as the "surrounding needle" technique.


The hip and knee joints bear the weight of the body and have a wide range of motion, making them susceptible to wear and degenerative changes, especially in obese elderly individuals. Thus, weight reduction in obese patients can significantly enhance the efficacy of treatment for arthritis pain in these areas. Among various weight loss exercises, swimming or aquatic activities are most suitable because water buoyancy reduces the load on these joints, minimizing exercise-induced wear. However, it is important not to soak in water for too long, ideally not exceeding half an hour per session, even in indoor heated pools, as a humid environment can exacerbate arthritis symptoms.


In summary, acupuncture offers a valuable treatment option for hip osteoarthritis and associated groin pain. Tailoring the approach to individual patient characteristics, such as body weight, and combining acupuncture with appropriate physical activities can significantly improve outcomes for those suffering from joint pain in these areas.

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