hip arthritis

Hip arthritis is a common complaint among our more well-seasoned patients, especially as the temperatures begin to drop. Studies show that one in four people may develop hip arthritis and suffer from its debilitating symptoms. Approximately 300,000 hip replacement surgeries take place every year in the United States.

What are the different kinds of hip arthritis?

Hip arthritis is a progressive illness characterized by the gradual deterioration of the cartilages in the joint. 

Normally, the cartilage serves as the protective cushion of the ball and socket joint in the hips. But as it wears down, the bones become bare, causing them to grind against each other during movement. This results in moderate to severe pain, swelling, and mobility problems. 

There are several types of arthritis that affect the hips, but most of them involve the deterioration of the cartilage. Some of them include:

  • Osteoarthritis is a type of hip arthritis caused by the wear and tear in the cartilage due to overuse and aging. Patients 60 years old and above commonly develop this illness.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks the healthy cells of the joint, damaging the cartilage and bones over time.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is a rare type of chronic arthritis affecting the sacroiliac joint of the hips, located between the spine and pelvis. It is characterized by the inflammation of the spine, which spreads into the hips and lower back.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is another type of autoimmune disease that attacks every cell and tissue with a nucleus. This results in inflammation spreading all over the body, including the hip joints. 
  • Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects over 30% of patients diagnosed with psoriasis. It can affect any part of the body, like the hip joints and tendons, which then causes joint pain and swelling. Psoriatic arthritis can develop years after psoriasis or before the skin disease presents itself.

What causes hip arthritis?

Arthritis of the hip usually develops due to hip joint overuse, wear-and-tear, and anomaly in the immune system. It can also appear after an infection, traumatic hip injuries, congenital hip joint disorder, and other hip conditions (e.g., hip dysplasia and hip impingement).

Furthermore, you have an increased risk of developing this kind of progressive illness if you are overweight or have a family history of arthritis.

What are its signs and symptoms?

Almost all types of arthritis have the same signs and symptoms. However, they differ in severity depending on the specific kind of condition and other underlying medical problems you may have. Generally, they are as follows:

  • Hip pain that can sometimes extend to the groin, upper buttocks, and outer thigh.
  • Aching pain that gets worse when standing, sitting, or doing specific movements.
  • Stiffness and weakness in the hip
  • Limited range of motion and mobility problems
  • Crepitus or the clicking and snapping sound in the hips when moving.

These symptoms can limit or reduce your ability to perform activities since moving worsens the pain. However, not moving your body can also cause problems since this will only weaken the joints and muscles.

How is hip arthritis diagnosed?

Persistent hip pain is not normal and should be a cause for concern. So if you have such a condition, then the best thing to do is consult a doctor at the best Dayton Orthopedic Clinic. Physicians usually diagnose hip arthritis using the following diagnostic tools:

  • Medical history review
  • Physical examination to identify your range of motion and mobility
  • Imaging tests like X-rays to see the degree of cartilage damage and severity of the condition. It will also reveal if bone spurs or cysts are present.
  • Blood tests to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other medical conditions.

What are the treatment options for hip arthritis?

Unfortunately, no type of treatment can reverse cartilage loss and damage. However, doctors can still save your hip joint and avoid further damage through different treatment options. 

Non-surgical treatment

Orthopedic doctors usually resort to a combination of conservative methods first to manage mild to moderate hip arthritis. This includes the following:

  • Lifestyle and activity modification – changing some unhealthy lifestyle habits can help reduce your arthritic symptoms and prevent the further destruction of the hip joint. Some examples include maintaining a healthy weight, a balanced diet, sticking to the right kind of exercise, and changing specific activities to avoid putting too much pressure on the hips.
  • Medications and injections – your doctor will also prescribe certain medications to help manage the joint pain and swelling. This includes NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections, PRP injections, vitamins, and mineral supplements.
  • Ice therapy – icing the painful and swelling hip area, on top of medications and activity modification, can also help reduce discomfort.
  • Physical therapy – despite the mobility problems, it is still important to remain physically active to keep the muscles strong and healthy. Physical therapy sessions can help rehabilitate your joints without compromising your hip joint. 

Surgical treatment

If your condition worsens or when conservative methods do not work anymore, then your physician may resort to surgical options to preserve your hip.

  • Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive method used to treat early-stage arthritis. It involves shaving the bone spurs or cutting loose bodies that may have been causing the pain in the hip joint. 
  • Hip osteotomy – this involves reshaping and realigning the hip bone by facing the arthritic bone away from the hip joint. This allows the healthier part of the bone to take the pressure on the joint that bears the most weight. Usually, this is only performed in adolescent patients with early stages of arthritis.
  • Hip replacement surgery or hip arthroplasty – is a procedure that replaces the damaged hip joint with artificial implants. In some cases, only the acetabulum (socket part of the hip joint) is replaced with artificial ones.
  • Joint fusion or arthrodesis – is a surgical procedure that fuses the surface of the hip joint using surgical rods, screws, and plates to act as support. This can help reduce your arthritic symptoms, but it can impair mobility drastically, which is why arthrodesis is usually a last resort.