Arthritis of the Hip
Arthritis of the hip can cause pain or stiffness in the hip joint, making it difficult to walk, climb stairs, or move about. Treatment for arthritis of the hip can help ease your symptoms and restore mobility so that you can maintain a healthier, more active lifestyle.
There are three types of inflammatory arthritis that most often cause symptoms in the hip joint: rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis; and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. The resulting inflammation can damage the affected joint.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that over time causes spinal vertebrae to fuse together. It is characterized by pain, stiffness, and fatigue in the lower back and hips.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus: Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, causing widespread tissue damage and inflammation. It can affect the hip joint as well any other joint, organ, or tissue of the body.
Symptoms of arthritis in the hip can include:
- Pain in the hip that may be dull, achy, or sharp
- Pain in the groin area
- Stiffness in the hip
- Inflammation in the hip
- Tenderness in the hip
- Decreased range of motion in the hip
- Joint deformity
Symptoms are usually chronic and may affect one hip only or both hips. They may also be accompanied by arthritis symptoms in other areas of the body, such as the lower back.
Treatment for arthritis of the hips is about symptom management. There is no known cure for arthritis, but proactive treatment can alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can decrease inflammation and pain due to arthritis in the hip.
- Physical Therapy (PT): PT may be recommended to improve range of motion and strength in the hip. Controlled use of the hip joint can help to preserve function and prevent further damage.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Some patients will benefit from lifestyle modifications, such as limiting or stopping certain activities that cause or aggravate pain. Walking with a cane (holding the cane in the hand opposite the affected hip) can also ease pain levels, as it decreases the force and pressure across the hip joint.
- Weight Loss: Where appropriate, weight loss can reduce strain on the hip joint and slow the gradual wear and tear that is caused by arthritis.
- Injections: Patients who need temporary pain relief or who cannot undergo surgery may benefit from injections to the hip joint. Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation to ease symptoms of hip arthritis.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat arthritis in the hip. Surgery may involve cutting and realigning the bone, removal of loose pieces of cartilage and/or bone spurs or tumors, fusing the pelvis and femur together to immobilize the joint, or replacing the hip joint with an artificial implant. In most cases, more conservative treatments are attempted before surgery is considered.
Frequently Asked Questions
Arthritis in the hip may be caused by wear and tear over time, autoimmune disorders, traumatic injuries, or genetics.
There is no cure for arthritis, but treatment can help lessen your symptoms.
Unfortunately, once the arthritic deterioration of the hip joint begins, it will almost always progress or worsen. However, effective treatment can slow arthritis down considerably and help you live a full, enjoyable life.
The best treatment for hip arthritis will depend on your individual situation. Usually, some combination of medications, injections, and physical therapy will be recommended. Surgery will usually not be considered until other treatments have failed.
The recovery after hip surgery varies depending on the details of your procedure. Your orthopedic surgeon will provide you with more information before you undergo your procedure so that you can be prepared.
If you are experiencing significant symptoms from arthritis in your hip, and they are impacting your quality of life, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon. He or she will be able to evaluate your symptoms and recommend whether a hip replacement may be appropriate for you.