Millions of Americans, many of whom are older adults, develop arthritis at some point in their life. In fact, hip arthritis affects 1 in 4 people over age 85, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only is hip arthritis painful, but it also affects your ability to perform everyday activities. Many patients automatically think that they need a hip replacement when they develop osteoarthritis. Although hip surgery is an appropriate and safe treatment for many people, there are other treatment options that should be explored before you make a treatment decision.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hip Arthritis
Hip arthritis is characterized by pain and stiffness in the hips, groin or thighs. This may feel like a dull ache or sharp, stabbing pain. In some cases, you may notice a clicking or grating sound or sensation during movement of the joint. An accurate diagnosis can be made through physical examination of the joint as well as X-ray imaging.
Physical therapy can be an effective way to reduce the pain associated with hip arthritis. Our orthopedic associates often recommend physical therapy as a noninvasive, conservative approach to arthritis treatment. Physical therapy involves learning stretches and exercises that reduce friction within the hip. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the hip can stabilize the joint, preventing painful movements.
One of the hallmarks of hip arthritis is inflammation. Inflammation of the joint can contribute to further joint damage and pain. Fortunately, taking medications for pain management can reduce these problems. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are effective at reducing inflammation within the hip joint. Many NSAIDs can be taken as over-the-counter medications. Use of corticosteroids is also recommended for some patients with inflammation that contributes to their hip arthritis. Your doctor can advise you about the best strategies for everyday pain management.
There are several options for hip surgery that can treat arthritis problems. Hip resurfacing involves reshaping the head of the femur and is often performed on younger patients with arthritis. In other cases, total or partial hip replacement may be appropriate. Hip replacements involve the placement of a metal, ceramic or plastic prosthesis.
Tens of thousands of hip surgeries are performed in the United States each year. The procedure is very safe and effective for the treatment of hip arthritis. However, it is an invasive treatment that may not be appropriate for everyone. Thus, it is important to work with your Southeast Orthopedic Specialists to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that works for you.Return to Blog