Have you noticed that the muscles in your thigh are persistently sore only since your hip replacement surgery?
There is a gait abnormality that can cause this problem, says Devin B. Peck, MD, owner of Austin Interventional Pain in Austin, TX.
It is called Trendelenburg gait, and it is characterized by weakness in the patient’s hip abductor muscles.
The hip abductor muscles enable you to move your upper legs away from the midline of your body (“abduct” means to move away from).
Think of the “hip abduction” equipment at the gym. You sit in it and abduct your hips to move your thighs away from each other.
So these muscles, then, are weak in someone with osteoarthritis of the hip joint.
“After hip replacement, retraining of the muscles of the thigh is necessary, but may result in soreness,” says Dr. Peck.
“In addition, soreness can be a result of simple post-operative pain, as the muscles of the lateral thigh are generally retracted for access to the joint for surgery.”
If the soreness in your thigh muscles persists, however, you’ll want to strengthen the hip abductors—which actually are located mostly in your butt, but may seem like they are “upper leg muscles.”
However, one of them, the vastus lateralis, is located along the side of the thigh.
Lying on the floor, on your side, and lifting a straightened leg up and down, with the inner part of your foot parallel to the floor, will engage the hip abductor muscles.
So will the equipment at the gym mentioned previously. When using this equipment, it’s more effective to use a moderate amount of weight that allows you to abduct as much as you can, rather than a ton of weight that limits your range of motion.
Dr. Peck’s areas of interest include chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain, sports injuries, arthritis and cancer pain, among many others. Austin Interventional Pain was established in 2019.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.