Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis of the Hip

It is not surprising that the hip joints are such a common location for conditions such as osteoarthritis to develop. The hips are one of the major bearing joints in the body, absorbing stress whether we’re sitting, standing, or moving. The combination of years of everyday wear and tear in conjunction with natural changes in the body means millions of people are living with osteoarthritis of the hip every year. 

Although this can be a debilitating condition that negatively affects the quality of life and the ability to enjoy daily activities, there are ways to successfully manage hip osteoarthritis. By learning more about the condition and available treatments, you can work more closely with treatment professionals to develop a successful plan of care.

Causes/Risk Factors

The number one cause of osteoarthritis is the natural aging process. Over time, our bodies dry out and become more brittle. This is especially true of the protective cartilage and synovial fluid that allows for smooth joint motion. These layers can eventually wear down to the point where the bone surfaces of joints are exposed, causing a high degree of friction. 

The resulting joint inflammation is known as osteoarthritis. While no one can avoid the natural aging process, there are several risk factors that increase the chances of developing this condition in the hips or elsewhere in the body. Here are some common osteoarthritis risk factors:

  • Poor posture or body mechanics, particularly among people who work a physical job
  • Being overweight or obese can increase pressure on the hips
  • Smoking, which can reduce circulation and damage the cartilage
  • Eating an inflammatory diet, including processed sugar and saturated fats
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle, which can cause muscle breakdown and cardiovascular degeneration

By practicing a healthy lifestyle and avoiding activities that place excess stress on the hips, patients can slow down the forces that lead to hip osteoarthritis.

Conservative Treatment

Common nonsurgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the hip include:

  • Periods of rest mixed with periods of activity to avoid becoming sedentary
  • Physical therapy to mobilize and strengthen the hip
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Lifestyle changes, including posture improvement and eating an inflammatory diet

It may take some trial and error to find the right combination and balance of therapies that are right for you. However, by committing to conservative therapies and healthy lifestyle choices, many patients are able to perform daily activities and enjoy a good quality of life. 

Symptoms

It is possible to develop osteoarthritis without experiencing symptoms, but as a progressive condition, patients will often experience some degree of discomfort or limited mobility over time. By recognizing the symptoms early on, it is possible to be proactive about treatment and have the best opportunity to successfully manage this condition. People with osteoarthritis of the hip typically experience:

  • Hip stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Locking or sticking in the hip
  • Aches and pains in the hip radiating pain in the lower body
  • Cracking, popping, and grinding in the joint, also known as crepitus
  • Weather-related symptoms, including increased discomfort during rain showers

With the help of a doctor, patients can determine whether these or other symptoms are related to arthritis and potential causes.

Diagnosis

When meeting with a doctor, whether a general practitioner or specialist, patients can expect to undergo the following steps:

  • Questions and answers about specific symptoms and regular activities that have been disrupted
  • Review of personal and family medical history
  • Physical examination and movement tests
  • Diagnostic imagery, including x-rays and MRI

Osteoarthritis is not a reversible or curable condition, so the primary goal of treatment is to manage symptoms, promote function, and slow down progression. This is very often accomplished with conservative treatment options. 

Surgery

For osteoarthritis, hip surgery is usually a last resort treatment attempted when symptoms are seriously debilitating and do not respond to nonsurgical methods. There are a number of procedures that can help with arthritis cases, including partial/total hip replacement. The goal of these procedures is to replace all the parts of the damaged hip joint with a prosthetic that reduces pain and stiffness in the hip while increasing smooth motion. 

Learn More When You Reach Out to BEST Health System

If you are seeking relief from hip pain related to osteoarthritis or another condition, contact BEST Health System today. Our experienced and compassionate team can help you learn more about your condition and potential treatment options.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or recieved a diagnosis and need treatment, BEST can help. Take the first step towards relief today.

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