Treatment options for hip osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints which happens as people get older. It occurs when the cartilage in the joints breaks down, causing pain and swelling, and is a degenerative condition, meaning that it gets worse as time goes on. Hip osteoarthritis is a fairly common form of the disease and is likely to require treatment over time via one of two types of treatment.
Conservative treatment is non-invasive and can mostly be performed by the patient at home, to slow symptoms. These treatments include:
A study in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that people suffering from mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis and participating in one hour of exercise twice a week were 44% less likely to need hip replacement surgery when restudied six years later. It is important that those already suffering from osteoarthritis don’t do anything to further damage their joints, so light stretching exercises are best, including yoga, swimming and Pilates.
Although osteoarthritis of the hip can be brought on by ageing and damage to the joints, being overweight is another cause and can contribute to the degeneration of the joints over time. Doctors will often suggest that overweight patients change their diet to aid their condition.
Over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen reduce pain and inflammation and can be helpful for those in the early stages of arthritis. When the condition is a little more evolved, doctors can provide steroid injections, which lessen pain through reducing inflammation and swelling. Steroid injections can thin bones, however, meaning that doctors are wary to use this option right away.
For more serious cases of osteoarthritis in the hip, there may be no choice but to opt for an invasive treatment option:
Hip replacement surgery is a very serious operation, with a long recovery time that puts patients out of action for anything from four weeks up to six months. Surgeons can perform a hip resurfacing, which replaces just the damaged bone and cartilage with metal, or a total hip replacement, replacing the entire socket or head of the femur. Doctors will always attempt conservative treatment options first, and patients should think carefully about whether they want to go for hip replacement surgery as their condition develops.