What is hip arthritis?
The most common form of arthritis that affects the hip joint is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. It occurs when the cartilage on the joint surface wears away through wear and tear, leaving the raw bone beneath exposed. The cartilage normally serves as a “pad” or a bearing in the joint. When this padding wears away, the result is a roughed joint surface that causes pain and stiffness.
What causes hip arthritis?
Factors that may contribute to hip arthritis include joint injury, increasing age, and being overweight. Other possible causes of osteoarthritis can include:
- Improperly formed joints
- Genetic (inherited) defects in the cartilage
- Extra stress on joints, either by being overweight or through activities that involve the hip
What are the symptoms of hip arthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the hip is typically characterized by a progression of symptoms. Patients initially experience stiffness and pain with certain movements, particularly in the groin area. The pain may be most severe in the morning, during physical activity, or after sitting for an extended period of time. Eventually, inflammation and painful grinding can make the hip so uncomfortable that it can wake you during the night.
How is hip arthritis diagnosed?
There is no single sign, symptom, or test that can diagnose hip osteoarthritis. Your doctor will usually make the diagnosis based on a consideration of several factors, including the characteristic symptoms of osteoarthritis and the results of laboratory tests and X-rays.
How is hip arthritis treated?
The goal of treating osteoarthritis of the hip is to improve mobility (ability to get around) and lifestyle by improving hip function and controlling pain. Nonsurgical treatment consists of rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, activity modification, and steroid injections. If symptoms are severe and nonsurgical treatments are not effective, a total hip replacement may be appropriate.
How can I prevent hip osteoarthritis?
There are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing hip osteoarthritis. The less stress you put on your joints, the less likely they are to wear out prematurely. Try to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise to strengthen muscles around joints
- Use good posture
- Rest if joint pain starts to bother you
- Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react
When patients complain of hip pain, we’ll try first to treat pain with nonsurgical treatment. If conservative treatments fail to control pain, Dr. Hansen explains the available surgical options you might consider.
Will your age affect the success of your hip replacement surgery? Dr. Wickum weighs in with his observations, based on extensive experience.