Managing Osteoarthritis Of The Hip
Theres no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are things you can do for yourself that can make a difference to how the condition affects you. There are also some treatments available that could significantly reduce your pain and improve your mobility. Its likely that youll need to use a combination of different things to get the best results.
Pain Locking Grinding Limping Trouble Walking Up Stairs Or Being Unable To Stand Or Sit For Long Periods Are All Common Symptoms Of Arthritis Hip Pain
When Lois W.s hip pain from osteoarthritis started a few years ago, she could manage it with cortisone injections a few times a year. But it didnt stay that way. Over time, I started walking with a limp and had very limited mobility in my hip, she says, noting that she became unable to sit in a cross-legged position. Eventually, things worsened to the point that she was in severe daily pain for almost two years before she decided to have a hip replacement surgery.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball is the top of your thigh bone it sits in a socket that is formed by part of your pelvic bone. Slippery tissue called cartilage covers the bone surface and helps cushion the joint, creating a low-friction environment so you can move easily and without pain.
When you have arthritis in the hip, you can start to lose that cartilage in the joint that cushions the bones. You can experience inflammation and pain in reaction to that degeneration. Arthritis is a wear-and-tear or immune response that makes this cartilage get thinner or wear away, says Jonathan M. Vigdorchik, MD, hip and knee surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Its like the treads on a tire. As you wear out the treads, they get thinner and thinner.
Everyday tasks like bending over to tie a shoe, getting up from a chair, or going for a walk become more challenging and downright painful.
Learn more about what causes hip arthritis and how it is treated.
Care After The Operation
You will need to consider how you will be looked after once you have had the operation, as you are going to need support with day-to-day activities for a while. If you live alone this may mean needing to have a friend or relative to come to stay with you for a while or it might mean that you need to stay in a care home until you have got your mobility and independence back.
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Start With Conservative Hip Pain Treatment
When youre first diagnosed with hip arthritis, Dr. Bauman says, You want to try conservative measures before even considering surgery. These include:
- Activity modification
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil, Aleve, and ibuprofen
- Injections into the hip joint
- Physical therapy
Dr. Bauman adds, Weight loss is oftentimes helpful in alleviating some of the pain of hip arthritis because any loss is weight thats not going through your joint when you go up and down stairs. While losing weight may slow some of the effects, it wont reverse damage caused by arthritis.
While theres no evidence that physical therapy limits the progression of arthritis or delays the need for surgery, physical therapy can help maintain strength in muscles that support the joint.
Dr. Ryan Bauman talks about conservative, nonsurgical treatment measures for hip pain.
Surgical treatment methods are only considered after all nonsurgical options have been tried without success.
Treatment For Hip Arthritis
There is no cure for any type of arthritis, including hip arthritis, but there may be more ways to treat the pain and other symptoms than you would imagine.
For most patients with mild hip arthritis, early stages of treatment can include:
- Rest and ice.
- Anti-inflammatory medications .
- Acetaminophen .
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What Is Involved In A Hip Replacement
Hip replacements are usually performed by making a cut over the side of the hip and then cutting out the affected bone and replacing it with an artificial part . Some surgeons use minimally invasive techniques. This means that they make just one or two very small cuts instead of one long cut and use specially designed surgical instruments and telescopes. It is thought that there may be less blood loss, less pain and quicker healing with this technique but it is not proven. Your surgeon will discuss with you if this is available.
You will be able to go home once you are eating and drinking normally and are mobile enough to be safe where you are going after you leave hospital. You will have an X-ray before being discharged, to make sure that your hip replacement looks normal.
How Can Osteoarthritis Of The Hip Be Prevented
One method for preventing osteoarthritis of the hip is to maintain a healthy weight.
In addition, you should exercise. Exercise strengthens muscles around joints. Such strengthening can help prevent wear and tear on cartilage in a joint. Your health care provider may be able to offer additional suggestions to minimize your risk for hip osteoarthritis.
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Whos Most At Risk Of Osteoarthritis
Thats hard to say, says orthopedic surgeon Ryan Bauman, MD. But, he adds, Its a very common problem that affects many people. And specifically with hip arthritis, theres not a direct correlation that patients who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk compared to someone of normal weight. Arthritis can run in families, and trauma or previous hip injuries can increase risk of arthritis later in life.
Dr. Ryan Bauman explains who may be at risk of developing arthritis.
Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.
Who is at risk for osteoarthritis?
It’s difficult to know who is actually at risk for arthritis, it’s a very common problem that affects many people and specifically with hip arthritis there’s not a direct correlation that patients that are overweight or obese are at an increased risk compared to someone of normal weight. Oftentimes arthritis runs in families, such that people that have relatives that have had arthritis are oftentimes at risk. Additionally things like trauma or previous hip injuries such as labral tears or other injuries to your hip in your adolescence or teenage years can put you at risk for arthritis later in life.
What Tests Are There
X-rays are often the best way of finding out whats wrong with your hip as they show the condition of the bones. They may also show problems in your pelvis which could explain your pain. Theyre not as useful for looking at the soft tissues around the joint.
A CT scan can often be very helpful to work out if the hip joint has an unusual shape. CT scans use x-rays to show sections or slices of the hip, which a computer then puts together to form a 3D image of the hip.
There are conditions where the socket of the hip can be very shallow, and a CT scan can show this.
MRI scans use radio waves to build a picture to show whats happening to the soft tissue, such as the muscles and tendons, inside your hip. Theyre particularly helpful for diagnosing the painful condition avascular necrosis, which reduces the flow of blood to the ends of bone, causing them to collapse .
If your doctor thinks your pain is caused by an infection or rheumatoid arthritis, blood tests can often help.
What Is Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery replaces damaged parts of your hip joint with new metal, ceramic, or plastic parts. It can help with severe pain. It may also improve how well the joint works and moves. This type of surgery is an option for people with severe osteoarthritis who have lost a lot of cartilage and do not get pain relief from other treatments.
Most new hip joints will last for 10 to 20 years or longer without loosening. But this can depend on how much stress you put on the joint and how well your new joint and bones mend.
There are many treatments for osteoarthritis. But what works for someone else may not help you. Work with your doctor to find what is best for you. Often a mix of things helps the most.
Treatments other than surgery include:
Some other things that you may try include:
- Acupuncture. It involves putting very tiny needles into your skin at certain places on your body to try to relieve pain. Some people find that acupuncture helps. But there is not a lot of medical research to support the use of acupuncture for hip arthritis.
- Natural health products, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, fish oil, or SAM-e. Some people feel that these supplements help. But medical research does not prove that they work. Talk to your doctor before you take these supplements.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Hip
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and the hip is the second most commonly affected joint.
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of wear and repair during their lifetime. As your joints repair themselves, their shape and structure can change. If this happens in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet. Your hip joint consists of a ball at the top of the thigh bone, which fits into a socket in your pelvis.
The ends of both bones in a joint are covered by a smooth slippery surface, known as cartilage. This is the soft but tough tissue that allows the bones to move against each other without friction.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your hip joint to become thinner and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher. This can cause swelling, pain and stiffness, but not everyone will have these symptoms.
The exact cause of osteoarthritis is often not known, as there can be quite a few reasons why a person develops the condition. These include the genes inherited from your parents.
Osteoarthritis usually starts in people over the age of 45 and is more common in women than men.
Research has shown that injuries, and jobs that involve heavy lifting or long periods of standing up, are associated with an increased risk of developing hip osteoarthritis.
Being overweight can also be a factor, as it increases the load on your joints.
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Tips On Easing Arthritis Pain
You can lessen your arthritic pain by adopting a few good habits. For example:
- Change posture often to lessen stiffness in your muscles and joints.
- Move the painful joint as often as possible.
- Always squat down before picking up something off the ground.
- When not sitting, always stand straight so as to properly align the neck, spinal column, hips and knees.
- Perform body stretches once or twice daily.
- Choose and wear proper footwear with shock-absorbing soles.
To help ease arthritis pain, the first choice of pain medication is acetaminophen. An effective pain reliever for this type of pain, it has the advantage of being very safe and has few secondary effects.
In some cases, you can use anti-inflammatory medication, many of which are sold over-the-counter. These products are not for everyone, and may cause undesirable effects. Always ask your pharmacist for advice before using them.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hip: Three Signs You May Not Recognize
Although over 100 different forms of arthritis exist, osteoarthritis or wear and tear joint degeneration is the type most commonly experienced in the hip. Common symptoms of arthritis in the hip include pain, stiffness and swelling. The onset of osteoarthritis corresponds to aging and overuse, but ultimately, arthritis is a matter of genetics.
Did You Know?
Treating Hip Arthritis
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What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- YesSorry, that’s not right. Most people with hip pain can try other treatments like medicine and physiotherapy before they have hip replacement.
- NoYou’re right. Most people with hip pain can try other treatments like medicine and physiotherapy before they have hip replacement.
- I’m not sureIt may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most people with hip pain can try other treatments like medicine and physiotherapy before they have hip replacement.
- YesYou’re right. People who have had hip replacement usually have much less pain than before surgery, are able to return to their daily activities, and have a better quality of life.
- NoSorry, that’s not right. People who have had hip replacement usually have much less pain than before surgery, are able to return to their daily activities, and have a better quality of life.
- I’m not sureIt may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” People who have had hip replacement usually have less pain than before, are able to return to their daily activities, and have a better quality of life.
How sure do you feel right now about your decision?
Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.
How To Tell If Your Hip Pain Is From Arthritis Or Bursitis
This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Hip Pain Relief.
Pain around the hip is a common complaint in orthopedic patients that visit IBJI. Knowing where the pain is coming from and the cause of the pain puts the patient on the right path to treatment.
Common issues are arthritis and bursitis. These two can easily be confused if you dont know what youre looking for.
IBJI recently chatted with Dr. Jeremy Oryhon, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with fellowship training in joint preservation, resurfacing and replacement. Dr. Oryhon explains the differences between arthritis and bursitis. His responsesbelowhave been edited and condensed for space.
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Personal Stories About Hip Replacement Surgery For Osteoarthritis
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I’ve always been active. I worked on the farm and also worked nights at the hospital for over 30 years. The pain in my hips has gotten so bad that it’s really hard for me to work, take care of the garden, or go for walks with my grandkids. I’ve seen people in the hospital with hip replacements, and I know what to expect. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m determined to get back to doing the things I enjoyâwith less pain.
Carrie, age 66
I never pictured myself as the type who would use a cane. But it helps a lot. I know that surgery is an option, but I don’t know who would take care of my sister at home while I was recovering in the hospital. And I don’t want to spend any time in a rehabilitation centre. So I’ll get by with my cane and my pain relievers as long as I can.
Elliot, age 73
I don’t remember when I had a good night’s sleep. My hip hurts when I walk, sit, or lie down. My doctor and I have talked about replacing my hip, and I know I may have to do that one day if things get worse, which my doctor says may or may not happen. I want surgery to be the last resort because the new hip could wear out before I die. For now, my doctor and I are going to try some different pain pills.
Gardner, age 54
Carma, age 68
Early Signs Of Hip Arthritis
Initially, mild arthritis in hip joints causes minor signs and symptoms that can be easy to ignore or to chalk up to another problem. Individuals may notice the following issues.
- Mild pain in the hip
- Mild radiating pain in the lower back, groin or thighs especially with walking
- Difficulty spreading the legs
- Popping noises when spreading the legs
- Pain that is worse in the morning
- Increased pain with inactivity
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Surgical Treatments For Hip Arthritis
If the non-operative methods have failed to make a persons condition bearable, surgery may be the best option to treat hip arthritis. The exact type of surgery depends upon a patients age, anatomy, and underlying condition.
Surgical options for hip arthritis range from operations that preserve the hip joint to those that completely rebuild it. They include: