Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis is the wearing away of the joint cartilage, and is also sometimes known as ‘wear-and-tear’ arthritis. The most common type of hip arthritis is known as osteoarthritis. Hip arthritis most commonly affects people aged 50+, who are overweight and/or who have a genetic predisposition.

Common symptoms of hip arthritis include pain and stiffness of the hip, walking with a limp or a decreased range of motion. If you have these signs, your doctor will do a physical examination as well as order X-rays. Having X-rays is important because it provides your physician with a ‘baseline’ of your condition and it can be more closely monitored as it progresses.

Several treatments are available, and not all will work for every person. Losing weight should be at the top of the treatment list for those that are overweight. It stands to reason that less weight makes it easier on all joints, thus decreasing pain. Some patients find relief and help with one option, while other patients find they need to combine several to find the relief they seek to fully enjoy their normal activities. Try one or a combination of the following, before considering any type of surgery.

Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles surrounding the hip, and afford a functioning range of motion.

For basic pain with inflammation there are medications that can help, such as anti-inflammatory medication.

For some, a cane or walking stick may help with pain and pressure on the hip by decreasing the demand placed on that joint.

Glucosamine supplementation has shown promise. It works by helping to rebuild cartilage, which is what cushions our joints. Glucosamine can be purchased in a capsule or tablet and sometimes found in powder form.

Cortisone injections can provide almost instant relief for some. Cortisone is naturally occurring in the body produced by your adrenal gland. Cortisone helps control inflammation. A cortisone injection directly into the affected joint can provide immense relief.

For severe cases of Osteoarthritis, there is hip surgery. In this surgical procedure, cartilage is removed totally and replaced by a plastic & metal implant. Hip replacement surgery is normally a last resort, after supplements, exercise, therapy and other options have failed to provide help and relief. Hip replacement can greatly improve quality of life, but be aware an artificial hip does not last forever. Though there is no definitive time frame, they do wear out as well. As a hip replacement is major surgery, it carries the same risks as any surgery such as infection, blood loss and more. These risks should be carefully discussed with your doctor before proceeding with the surgery.