What is Hip Arthritis?
Like other joints that carry your weight, your hips may be at risk for “wear and tear” arthritis (osteoarthritis), the most common form of the disease. The smooth and glistening covering (articular cartilage) on the ends of your bones that helps your hip joint glide may wear thin, causing hip arthritis.
The causes of hip arthritis are not known, but experts believe the following may play a role:
Because of this, you are more likely to get it if you have a family history of the disease but can also develop osteoarthritis if you do not have any risk factors.
You are at risk if you are elderly, obese, or have an injury that puts stress on your hip cartilage.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you think you may have it.
What are the Symptoms of Hip Arthirits?
Your first sign of the symptoms of hip arthritis may be a bit of discomfort and stiffness in your groin, buttock, or thigh when you wake up in the morning. The pain flares when you are active and gets better when you rest.
If you do not get treatment for osteoarthritis of the hip, the condition keeps getting worse until resting no longer relieves your pain. The hip joint gets stiff and inflamed. Bone spurs might build up at the edges of the joint.
When the cartilage wears away completely, bones rub directly against each other. This makes it very painful for you to move. You may lose the ability to rotate, flex or extend your hip. If you become less active to avoid the pain the muscles controlling your joint get weak, and you may start to limp.
While you cannot reverse the effects of osteoarthritis, early nonsurgical treatment may help you avoid a lot of pain and disability and slow progression of the disease. Surgery can help you if your condition is already severe.
If you have early stages of osteoarthritis of the hip, the first treatment may be:
Rest your hip from overuse
Follow a physical therapy program of gentle, regular exercise like swimming, water aerobics or cycling to keep your joint functioning and improve its strength and range of motion
Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen for pain
Get enough sleep each night
You may need to lose weight if you are overweight. As the disease progresses, you may need to use a cane.
Disease-modifying anti-rhematic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Folex) and leflunomide (Arava) can also be used to treat hip arthritis.
If you have later stages of osteoarthritis, your hip joint hurts when you rest at night, and/or your hip is severely deformed, your doctor may recommend total hip replacement surgery (arthroplasty).
You will get a two-piece ball and socket replacement for your hip joint. This will cure your pain and improve your ability to walk. You may need crutches or a walker for a while after surgery.
Rehabilitation is important to restore the flexibility in the hip and work your muscles back into shape.