Hip Osteoarthritis: That You Need To Know
What is osteoarthritis of the hip?
Hip osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the hip joint that leads to inflammation and pain. The cartilage present at the head of the femur (thigh bone) and acetabulum (socket of hip bone) deteriorates as people age. This cartilage cushions the bone providing them with frictionless movement. But the problem is the body does not generate new cartilage to make up for the lost one. It is a normal aging process of the body. Hence, bones rub against each other, joint space is lost, and bone spurs develop — leading to joint pain and stiffness.
What are the causes of Hip Osteoarthritis?
The exact causes of osteoarthritis are still unknown. Many risk factors lead to the degeneration and inflammation present in hip osteoarthritis. These factors include:
- Old age: The risk of osteoarthritis significantly increases for old people
- Sex: Hip osteoarthritis affects females more than males for unknown reasons
- Genetics: it makes some people more susceptible to osteoarthritis
- Stress: Extra stress on the joint, whether due to vigorous exercise or obesity, increases the risk of osteoarthritis
- Anatomical defects: Examples include malformed joints or defective cartilage
- Injury: Sports injuries or those that occur due to accidents also increase the risk of osteoarthritis
What are the signs and symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis?
In hip osteoarthritis, the following symptoms are present:
- Joint pain felt during or after movements, which radiates from the buttocks to the thighs and knees
- Joint stiffness in the morning or after being inactive for a while
- Joint swelling and tenderness
- Crackling sound due to bone rubbing against each other
- Reduced range of motion
- Gait and balance issues
How to make a diagnosis of Hip Osteoarthritis?
The diagnosis is made on:
- Signs and symptoms such as hip joint pain, stiffness, tenderness
- Medical history of a recent injury, age, or excessive stress on the joint
- Physical examination to check for tenderness, swelling, joint mobility, and gait disturbances
- Imaging tests like X-rays or occasionally MRIs to check for lost space of the joint and bone spurs
- Blood tests to rule out other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
Prognosis of Hip Osteoarthritis
There is no cure for hip osteoarthritis, and the progression of the disease is irreversible. Medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes help minimize the symptoms and live an active life. But cartilage degeneration continues. As a last resort, surgery may be performed to improve deteriorating life quality.
What are the treatments of Hip Osteoarthritis?
The management of hip osteoarthritis is as follows:
Medications like acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve temporary pain and inflammation. Duloxetine (anti-depressant pain-killer) is also used for chronic pain of hip osteoarthritis.
What are interventional pain management procedures?
If the pain is not responding to medications and other therapies, doctors recommend a few interventional procedures. These are:
- Steroid injection- Intraarticular steroid injection relieves pain for a few weeks.
- Radio frequency ablation– Ablation of pain carrying articluar nerves from femoral and obturator with cooled radiofrequency procedure is a very helpful procedure.
- Cryoneurolysis– Blocking or ablation of the articluar nerves by application of cold at -70 to -80 degree is also an useful technique.
What is the role of regeneration therapy in the hip?
Regeneration therapy with platelet rich plasma (PRP) or adipose tissue or bone marrow aspirate into the degenerated joint has an important role and can be used in early osteoarthritis of the hip joint.
What are physical therapies?
Its purpose is to strengthen the muscles around the joint, increase its range of motion, and relieve pain. A doctor or a physical therapist can help formulate an exercise plan that meets individual needs.
Is there any role of lifestyle changes?
Along with taking medications and physical therapy, adopting a healthy lifestyle is also necessary. Taking rest and good care of joint is crucial. Minimizing the disease aggravating activities and reducing joint stress ーby losing weightーare also necessary.
What is the role of surgery?
It is the last resort. If hip osteoarthritis is severe and is not responding to any medications or other therapies, a doctor may recommend surgery. Surgeries to improve joint condition include bone realigning and joint replacement.