Why Can’t I Bend Over? Why Can’t I Tie My Shoes?

When your hip is arthritic, it may become stiff. Since the motion in your hip is restricted, you will have difficulty doing some of the things you did before.Even when you don’t have pain, the symptoms of stiff-ness may be limiting. At first, you may have trouble bending over to pick up objects. You may have to stoop down and bend your knees in order to reach the floor. You may notice difficulty getting in and out of your car or you may have difficulty getting up from a low chair. It may be hard to bend over to cut your toenails, to put on your socks or to tie your shoes.

At first, you may find yourself bending your leg in an awkward position in order to accomplish these things. Then you may be unable to do them at all. Additional aids such as a grabber or shoehorn might be helpful. As time passes, you may even have difficulty getting dressed. When your hip has lost motion it is harder to do stairs in an alternating pattern. You may need to go up with your good leg first and down with your bad leg. It may take longer to put your leg down on the floor when you first get out of a chair. All of these are signs of stiffness of the hip. This occurs because the muscles and ligaments around the hip contract as arthritis becomes more advanced.

When the muscles and joint capsule tighten, you lose range of motion. The hip goes into a flexed position and develops a flexion contracture. You will no longer be able to move your hip the way you once did. Your range of activities may become restricted. If your hip is stiff you may compensate by putting pressure on your spine. This can cause lower back pain. You may also have increased pain in your knee if your knee is arthritic.