What is Hip Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition affecting the joints. Hip arthritis affects the ball and socket which makes up the hip joint. There are a number of different types of arthritis, the commonest of which is osteoarthritis. Also known as degenerative joint disease, it affects the whole joint including the cartilage, bone, ligaments and muscles. It is often thought of as “wear and tear” and is generally seen in people over 40. It often runs in families but can also occur after an injury.
What are the Symptoms?
Osteoarthritis is associated with pain and stiffness. The symptoms typically come on gradually over months or years. In the hip, pain can occur in the groin or thigh, sometimes knee pain is present. Pain is worse with activity but as the disease progresses can be present constantly. Night pain is common making sleep difficult. Stiffness can make it difficult to bend over to put on a shoe and sock. These symptoms may affect your ability to walk and do your normal daily activities. Leisure activities such as tennis, golf or bowls may become difficult or impossible.
What is the Treatment?
Early stages of the disease can be managed without surgery. Pain often fluctuates and sometimes an acute exacerbation will settle with rest and time. Pain medication can be used and should be restricted to paracetamol or anti-inflammatories. Weight loss, for those who are overweight, can be beneficial as well as the use of a walking stick.
Those who have symptoms which are no longer manageable with the above will often benefit from total hip replacement.