Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in the elderly. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint called cartilage. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and worn out, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected joint. Although osteoarthritis may affect various joints including the hips, knees, hands, and spine, the hip joint is most commonly affected. Rarely, the disease may affect the shoulders, wrists, and feet.
Causes of Osteoarthritis of the Hip
Advanced age is one of the most common reasons for osteoarthritis of the hip. You may also develop osteoarthritis in the following cases:
- Previous hip injury or fracture
- Family history of osteoarthritis
- Suffer from hip diseases such as avascular necrosis and other congenital or developmental hip diseases
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Hip
You will experience severe pain that is confined to the hip and thighs, morning stiffness and limited range of motion.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis of the Hip
Based on your symptoms, your doctor will perform a physical examination, X-rays and other scans, and some blood tests to rule out the other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hip
There are several treatments and lifestyle modifications that can help you ease your pain and symptoms.
- Medications: Pain-relieving medications such as NSAIDs and opioids may be prescribed. Topical medications such as ointments can be applied over the skin to relieve pain. If the pain is very severe, corticosteroid injection can be administered directly into the affected joint to ease the pain.
- Other treatments: Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to keep your joints flexible and improve muscle strength. Heat/cold therapy that involves applying heat or cold packs to the joints provides temporary pain relief. Lifestyle modifications are encouraged to control your weight and avoid extra stress on the weight-bearing joints.
- Surgery: Hip joint replacement surgery is considered as an option when the pain is so severe that it affects your ability to carry out normal activities.