Arthritis of the Hip
As with any weight-bearing joints, your hips are at risk for “wear and tear” arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis. It occurs when the articular cartilage that lines your hip bones starts to deteriorate as you age. Those who are obese are also more susceptible to the degenerative disease, as the excess weight puts more stress on the joints.
The first symptoms include discomfort and stiffness in your groin, buttock, or thigh when you get up in the morning. Also, the pain flares up when you’re active, then decreases when you rest.
Without treatment, osteoarthritis of the hip gets worse until resting is no longer enough to relieve your pain. The hip joint becomes stiff and inflamed, and bone spurs can build up at the edges of the joint. Once the cartilage wears away completely, your bones rub directly against each other, making it extremely painful to move. You may not be able to rotate, flex, or extend your hip. And since you’re less active to avoid the pain, the muscles controlling your joint can become weak, forcing you to start limping.
The orthopedic doctors at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in San Antonio are experts at diagnosing and treating hip arthritis. The condition may be treated conservatively until the pain becomes so severe that surgery is required.
The effects of osteoarthritis cannot be reversed. However, early nonsurgical treatment can help you avoid much of the pain, disability, and slow progression of the disease. In the early stages of hip arthritis, your doctor may recommend rest, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to alleviate pain, and losing weight, if necessary, to relieve stress on your hip joint.
To determine how much the disease has progressed, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and when they began, as well as check the movement, flexibility, and extension of your hip in relation to your pain. Also, you may undergo X-rays of both hips to see if hip joint space has changed and if you have developed bone spurs or other abnormalities as a result.
In the later stages of osteoarthritis – especially if your hip joint is deformed or hurts when you try to rest at night – your orthopedic surgeon may recommend total hip replacement surgery or arthroplasty. This involves replacing your natural hip joint with an artificial one, thus curing your pain and improving your ability to walk.
Following surgery, you may need to use crutches or a walker for a while. Also, rehabilitation will be crucial to restoring your hip’s flexibility and getting your muscles back in shape. Learn more about hip replacement.
If you are suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip, the physicians at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine can help relieve your pain and restore your mobility. Call our San Antonio office at (210) 692-7400 to schedule an appointment, or you can request one online.