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Classification-Based Treatment of Hip Pathology in Older Adults

Martin, RobRoy L. PhD, PT, CSCS; Kivlan, Benjamin R. PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

doi: 10.1097/TGR.0b013e3182940bb4
Special Edition on the Hip Region

Hip pain is a common complaint among older adults. Although osteoarthritis is the most common source of hip pain in this population, it is not the only cause of hip pathology. Effective evaluation methods are needed to diagnose and guide treatment. It may be a greater challenge to accurately diagnose the source of hip pain for a geriatric patient when comorbidities complicate identifying the source of symptoms. Clinicians must develop efficient means to recognize potential causes of symptoms and guide appropriate treatment. Establishing an evaluation algorithm can assist in systematically organizing the focus of tests and measures toward determining the source of symptoms. Many evaluation algorithms exist for various regions of the body. Few, however, have been established for patients with complaints related to the hip joint. An effective evaluation algorithm can lead to a classification-based treatment system. A classification-based treatment system can help identify specific treatment approaches that will best suit the individuals according to their collective examination findings. An evaluation algorithm and classification-based treatment scheme to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, and appropriate treatment plan for hip-related pain have been proposed. The purpose of this article is to review a classification-based treatment scheme as it relates to geriatric patients with pathology to the hip region.

Department of Physical Therapy, Duquesne University, and University of Pittsburgh Center for Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Martin); and John G. Rangos Sr School of Health Sciences, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mr Kivlan).

Correspondence: RobRoy L. Martin, PhD, PT, CSCS, Department of Physical Therapy, John G. Rangos Sr School of Health Sciences, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282 (

The authors declare no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2013Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins