Most doctors and surgeons will recommend that patients complete a course of physical therapy before deciding to manage hip dysplasia surgically. Some people argue that hip dysplasia is a structural issue and that conservative management cannot “fix” the structural issue. This is true. But hip dysplasia pain is also poorly understood, and a course of conservative management can help determine what pain is related to the actual structure (primary) and what is secondary (likely caused by compensations).

There is some research starting to be published that shows the potential benefits of physical therapy for improving pain and function for people with hip dysplasia. This may be done through core and hip strengthening, posture re-education, and movement training. In some cases, physical therapy may be enough to improve symptoms and function to allow people with hip dysplasia to continue to lead active lives without surgery or to delay the need for surgery.

Even if a patient is planning on surgery, some hip dysplasia research shows that patient outcomes may be better if a patient has lower pain levels and higher function before surgery. A PT can help get your body the strongest and most-ready it can be going into surgery and can help you meet your physical goals after surgery.