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What is Hip Arthritis?

As our bodies age, we become increasingly at risk for degenerative joint conditions. Fortunately, arthritis of the hip can be diagnosed and treated by an expert orthopaedic specialist.

Hip arthritis is a degenerative condition where the cartilage shield protecting the ball-and-socket joint begins to wear out.  This results in inflammation, limited range of motion, and pain or discomfort with everyday activities.  Since arthritis is one of the most common hip conditions, it is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options.

There are three main types of hip arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

The most common one of these three conditions is osteoarthritis, which impacts our bodies more as we age.  Those most affected are adults over age 50, but it can present in younger patients, often those who have experienced a traumatic hip injury. Genetic predisposition is a leading risk factor, but weight and nutritional habits have an impact as well.  If you have had a hip injury in the past, it is recommended to see an orthopaedic hip specialist periodically to monitor your risk of developing arthritis.

Symptoms of Hip Arthritis

Since hip arthritis is a degenerative condition, symptoms will continue to worsen until they are addressed.  The severity of symptoms may change week-to-week or season-to-season, but if left unaddressed, the cartilage will continue to deteriorate.

Patients with arthritis of the hip joint often report these symptoms, but this is not a comprehensive list:

  • Hip pain and/or discomfort
  • Limited range of motion
  • Joint stiffness or tightness
  • Knee and/or lower back pain

Treatments for Hip Arthritis

If you are experiencing symptoms in line with hip arthritis, you should see an orthopaedic hip specialist.  After a review of your medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic imaging (x-ray and in some cases an MRI), your specialist will recommend a treatment plan suited for your specific situation.

There is a common misconception that a total hip replacement is the only solution for hip arthritis.  This is an effective solution if the degeneration has been left untreated for years, but if it is addressed early, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and injections can provide many patients relief.

The most common treatments include one or more of the following, but your orthopaedic specialist will have a personalized plan that best fits your condition, lifestyle, and goals:

  • Nutritional intentionality: consuming fewer inflammatory foods and more nutrients that fight or prevent joint inflammation. In some cases, this may include dietary supplements.
  • Exercise variations: reducing the impact on your joints through activity modification is a great way to protect your hip joint. Low impact exercises are recommended to reduce stress on the joints. If weight loss is an important part of treatment, your doctor will discuss the best way to increase your activity level without causing joint damage.
  • Physical therapy: this will help strengthen the support muscles for your hip and may offload some of the burden from the joint.
  • Anti-inflammatories: prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can help reduce arthritic joint inflammation and limit future damage.
  • Injections or ortho-biologics: a stem cell or platelet rich plasma injection can help provide the right nutrients and healing factors to your hip joint. Injections are most effective when used early in treatment before the cartilage deterioration gets severe.
  • Minimally invasive total or partial hip replacement: with an anterior approach, outpatient hip replacement, your surgeon will replace the top or part of your femur (the “ball” of the ball-and-socket joint) with artificial joint components. The diseased tissue and bone is removed, preventing further degeneration.  Since the procedure is performed in an outpatient setting, most patients can return home within 24-hours and begin weight-bearing physical therapy the next day.

Want to know more about hip arthritis?

If you or someone you love is suffering from hip pain, schedule an appointment with one of the orthopaedic hip specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.  Your doctor will provide a full analysis and accurate diagnosis to ensure that the problem is properly addressed with a personalized treatment plan.  With appointment availability Monday through Saturday, you can see a specialist when it fits your schedule—without a primary care referral!  Contact Beacon Orthopaedics by phone 24/7 at 513-354-3700 or schedule online at your convenience at beaconortho.com.