Osteoarthritis of the Hip
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that many people develop as they age. It can occur in any joint in the body, but is most common in weight-bearing joints, such as the hip. Osteoarthritis causes pain and swelling in the body’s joints, such as the knees or hips.
In hip osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the hip joint slowly wears away over time. This results in the cartilage becoming frayed and rough and decreases the protective joint space between the bones, resulting in bone rubbing on bone. Bone spurs may form as damaged bones grow outward due to the empty space left behind by the lost cartilage.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The main symptom of hip osteoarthritis is hip pain, which worsens over time.
Other symptoms include:
- Joint pain and stiffness that occurs in the morning when you get out of bed, and when you get up after sitting for long periods
- Pain in your groin or thigh that radiates to your buttocks or your knee
- Pain that flares up with vigorous activity
- Pain and swelling of the hip joint
- A grinding sensation or sound (crepitus) during movement that is due to loose fragments of cartilage and bone
- Inability to move the hip and perform simple daily activities
- Increased joint pain with rainy weather
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS?
There is no certain cause, but there are certain factors that increase your risk. These include:
- Family history
- Previous injury to the hip joint
- Improper formation of the hip joint at birth- a condition known as dysplasia of the hip
WHAT IS THE DIAGNOSIS?
A history of the injury and a physical examination of the hip will be conducted by the Doctor. The doctor will check on the surrounding tendons, muscles and ligaments, your range of motion and if there is pain or tenderness around the hip.
Imaging tests such as an x-ray will be taken, which may show changes in bone structure and if bone spurs are present. If required, a MRI scan or a CT scan may be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
The main goal of osteoarthritis is to help them regain mobility of their hip. As with most osteoarthritis conditions, nonsurgical treatment is the first line of treatment. This includes:
- Resting the hip joint
- Exercise and losing weight
- Pain relief medications such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs
- Steroid injections such as corticosteroid injection directly into the hip joint
- Assistive devices such as a walker and cane
- Physiotherapy to restore muscle strength and regain range of motion
Should your symptoms not improve with nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery options include:
- Total hip replacement
Both the damaged acetabulum and femoral head will be removed, and replaced with new metal, plastic, or ceramic joint surfaces to restore the function of your hip.
- Hip resurfacing
The damaged bone and cartilage in the acetabulum (hip socket) is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The head of the femur does not get removed, but instead capped with a smooth metal covering.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY PROCESS AFTER A HIP OSTEOARTHRITIS SURGERY?
The recovery period depends on the type of surgery that was performed. Physiotherapy may be recommended by your doctor, which will help you regain your muscle strength and restore mobility in your hip. Do expect to use a cane or walker for a period of time after your surgery.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS OF HIP OSTEOARTHRITIS SURGERY?
As with all surgery, complications may occur. Complications of hip osteoarthritis surgery include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clotting
- Hip dislocation
- Uneven limb length
- Blood vessels or arteries damage