Osteoarthritis of the Hip
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage). In a person with osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and worn out causing pain, swelling, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected joint. Although osteoarthritis may affect various joints including hips, knees, hands, and the spine, the hip joint is most commonly affected.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by damaged articular cartilage, the cartilage lining the hip joint. Increasing age is one of the most common reasons for osteoarthritis of the hip. You may also develop osteoarthritis if you had hip injury or fracture in the past, if you have family history of osteoarthritis, suffering from hip diseases such as avascular necrosis and other congenital or developmental hip diseases.
How do you diagnose osteoarthritis of hip?
Characteristic symptoms and diagnostic tests help in diagnosing the condition. You will experience severe pain confined to the hip and thighs, morning stiffness and limited range of motion. Based on the symptoms your orthopaedic surgeon will perform a physical examination, X-rays and possibly other imaging scans to help diagnose the condition.
How do you manage of hip osteoarthritis?
There are several treatments and lifestyle modifications that can help you ease your pain and symptoms.
- Medications: Pain-relieving medications such as paracetamol, NSAIDs and on occasion opioids may be prescribed. Topical medications such as ointments applied over the skin where there is pain may help. If the pain is very severe, a corticosteroid injection can be given directly into the affected joint to ease the pain temporarily.
- Other Treatments: Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength. Applying hot or cold packs to the joints can provide temporary pain relief. Lifestyle modifications can be done to control weight and avoid extra stress on the weight-bearing joints.
- Surgery: Hip joint replacement surgery is considered as an option when the pain is so severe that it affects your ability to carry out normal activities.