Hip Arthritis FAQs
What is hip arthritis?
Hip arthritis (osteoarthritis) is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the bones in the hip joint wears down. This leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced joint mobility.
The first sign is stiffness in the groin or thigh that is often worse in the morning and when exercising and improves with rest. Mild pain and stiffness can be relieved with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
In addition to pain and stiffness in the hip joint, other symptoms include reduced range of motion, joint deformity, difficulty walking or performing everyday activities, and a feeling of grinding or clicking in the hip.
The primary cause of hip arthritis is the gradual breakdown of the cartilage that cushions bones in the hip joint due to wear and tear with age, overuse, poor bone alignment, instability, and certain risk factors like obesity and genetics. Cartilage breakdown is a gradual process that progresses and impacts quality of life. When the cartilage breaks down the bones rub against each other and cause symptoms.
Hip arthritis is usually diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans. These tests help your orthopedic doctor to assess the condition of the hip joint and determine the extent of cartilage damage.
While it may not be entirely preventable, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of hip arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, and avoiding excessive impact on the hips can help. However, some risk factors, like genetics, can’t be controlled. Further non-surgical treatment or conservative treatment such as Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections and Stem Cell Injections can also help to prevent hip arthritis.
Treatment options for hip arthritis can include lifestyle modifications (exercise, weight management), physical therapy, pain-relieving medications, corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, assistive devices (canes, crutches), and in severe cases, surgical options like hip replacement surgery.
Hip replacement surgery is usually recommended when nonsurgical treatments no longer provide relief, and the pain and functional limitations significantly affect the individual’s quality of life. It involves removing the damaged hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint.
The recovery process varies, but typically involves a period of rehabilitation, including physical therapy, to regain strength and mobility. Patients are advised to follow their surgeon’s instructions for activity restrictions and rehabilitation exercises.
Robotic hip replacement is a total hip replacement performed as an outpatient minimally invasive procedure. This reduces the risk of infection and provides a faster recovery and return to normal activities.
Only your LALL Orthopedics + doctor can decide who is a good candidate but generally, a good candidate would be someone in good health with no significant medical conditions, who has support at home and is motivated to participate in the rehabilitation program.
While hip arthritis is more commonly associated with aging, it can also affect younger individuals due to factors such as hip injuries, genetics, or certain medical conditions.
Yes, low-impact exercises that strengthen the muscles around the hip joint and improve joint flexibility are often recommended for managing hip arthritis. Activities like swimming, stationary cycling, and gentle stretching can be beneficial.
Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified and triple fellowship-trained hip surgeon. Dr. Lall and the team at LALL Orthopedics + specializes in diagnosing and treating hip arthritis. Schedule a hip consultation today.
At a Glance
Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS
- Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
- Triple Fellowship Trained
- Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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