Do I have Hip Arthritis?
If your hip frequently hurts, you may be wondering if it’s a nagging injury or something more. Persistent hip pain could be a sign of hip arthritis, a condition that becomes more common with age. Luckily there are effective ways to treat and manage this disease so that you can continue living an active life.
What Is Hip Arthritis?
Arthritis is another term for joint inflammation. Inflammation in joints causes swelling and pain. It can occur in any joint, but is prevalent in hips and knees. Although there are several types of arthritis, the most common form is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is common in people of advanced age.
When you suffer from osteoarthritis, constant inflammation breaks down vital cartilage that cushions joints. Cartilage is made of a rubbery protein material that forms a barrier between bones so that they don’t grind together. Once cartilage breaks down, the body can’t regenerate it.
What Are the Symptoms of Hip Arthritis?
The following symptoms may indicate you have hip arthritis:
- A feeling of stiffness when getting out of bed
- Swelling or pain in the hip
- A feeling or bones touching one another or hearing a strange grinding sound
- Difficulty moving your hip to put on shoes and socks and other regular activities
- Stiff feeling in the hip after sitting for a long time
How Is the Condition Diagnosed?
There are several different ways your doctor might diagnose hip arthritis. Your doctor will give you a thorough examination covering your health history and moving your hip to detect painful movements or loss of motion. An x-ray may show tell-tale signs of arthritis such as joint spurs and joint narrowing, which is typical of the condition.
What Are the Treatment Options?
The focus in treating hip arthritis is to maximize mobility to allow you to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. There are several treatment avenues to explore, including:
- Resting the hip
- Using heat or ice to soothe the joint
- Using a cane to take additional stress off the hip joint
- Using mon-medicinal pain management techniques
- Losing weight
- Exercising (try low impact activities like swimming or cycling)
- Visiting a physical therapist to learn specific stretching and flexibility exercises
- Using acetaminophen, NSAIDs, or prescription pain medicine
How Do I Manage My Hip Arthritis Long Term?
If you don’t get relief from these less aggressive treatment options, you might consider hip surgery to treat osteoarthritis. There are two different procedures available. They include:
- Hip Replacement Surgery – The hip joint contains a ball and socket. The ball sits at the top of the femur (thighbone). During a hip replacement, the surgeon removes the damaged ball and replaces it with one made of metal. The hip socket receives a plastic lining and metal shell to accommodate the metal ball.
- Hip Resurfacing – This procedure can reduce pain and delays the need for a total hip replacement. Keeping the femur intact, the surgeon removes the damaged joint surfaces and covers the exposed areas with metal. The ball portion of the joint is also encased in metal. This procedure makes it possible for the patient to still opt for a total hip replacement later if necessary. *Note: Dr. Sculco does not offer this procedure.
If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of hip arthritis, make an appointment today with Dr. Peter K. Sculco in NYC. Dr. Sculco specializes in hip and knee replacements and is known internationally for his academic research on hip and knee replacements.