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Guide to Hip osteoarthritis

What is Hip osteoarthritis?

Hip osteoarthritis is a condition whereby the cartilage which cushions your joints wear away which leads to friction, damage and inflammation. Over time this can cause pain and stiffness that occurs when moving your hips.

What are the symptoms of Hip osteoarthritis?

The symptoms of hip osteoarthritis are pain around the hip joint. An early presenting symptom is an extended period of stiffness upon rising usually greater than an hour and following periods of inactivity. The pain usually develops slowly and becomes worse as time goes on, however, in some patients, it may develop suddenly. Here are some of the other symptoms you may experience:

  • Pain and stiffness can be worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
  • As time goes on symptoms may occur more frequently where you experience pain at rest or at night.
  • Difficulty putting on socks or climbing stairs.
  • Pain around the groin and thigh region is common.
  • Pain that’s worse with vigorous activity.
  • Reduced range of motion in the hip that affects your ability to walk.
  • Feeling of stiffness in the hip joint, making it harder to walk.

What causes Hip osteoarthritis?

There is no single specific cause for hip osteoarthritis, however, there are several factors that make it more likely to develop hip osteoarthritis such as:

  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Previous injury to the hip joint
  • Being overweight
  • Repetitive microtrauma
  • Increasing age
  • Improper formation of the hip joint at birth

There is still a possibility to develop hip osteoarthritis even if you do not have any of the risk factors listed above.

How is Hip osteoarthritis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis is a challenging one as imaging studies are needed to confirm its presence. Our practitioners will conduct a thorough examination which will involve asking about the symptoms you are currently experiencing followed by a physical examination which would look at your range of motion, any tenderness around the area, the way you walk and specific orthopaedic tests.

Your practitioner may refer you to get imaging such as X-rays done which would confirm their diagnosis if they believe you have hip osteoarthritis.

How is Hip osteoarthritis treated?

Sadly, there is no cure for hip osteoarthritis, but there are a number of treatment modalities available that will help relieve pain and improve your mobility. The treatment of hip osteoarthritis would be directed at restoring motion to the joint and avoiding factors that aggravate the pain. This is firstly done through conservative care such as physical therapy.

There are studies that have demonstrated that manual therapy and exercise therapy are beneficial for people suffering from hip osteoarthritis in terms of reducing pain, improving physical function and improving quality of life. Consider increasing physical activity to strengthen the surrounding muscles by doing things such as swimming, cycling or walking on flat surfaces.

The practitioner will decide what would be the best course of action for you and devise a personalised plan to help achieve your goals. If this approach does not work the next treatment option would be surgery. There are various surgical options available such as a total hip replacement, osteotomy or hip resurfacing. The practitioner would be able to refer you onwards to a consultant.

References

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