Hip osteoarthritis is a condition that causes the cartilage that cushions your joints to wear away. This leads to friction, inflammation, and bone damage, which can cause stiffness and pain. When it comes to treatment options, your doctor will usually recommend the best option for you based on the severity of your symptoms, your overall health, the severity of joint involvement, and other factors that are individual to you. All treatments for this condition aim to improve mobility and manage pain, but the right option will depend on the individual receiving the treatment. However, since this disease is degenerative, symptoms will often get worse over time, which may require further treatment.
Weight management is often one of the first treatment options for hip osteoarthritis as people with a high body mass index (BMI) tend to be at a higher risk. Extra weight puts more strain on the joints and can contribute to inflammation. As a result, symptoms may worsen and progress more quickly. Medical experts recommend losing weight for people who are overweight or obese. Your doctor can help you decide if this is the best option for you and provide support with weight loss.
Along with weight management and exercise, you may also be prescribed pain relief medication to help with this condition. For people with milder symptoms, over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or paracetamol may be effective. On the other hand, if you have moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the hip with more painful symptoms, you may be prescribed a stronger painkiller by your doctor. Steroid injections can be prescribed to reduce swelling and severe pain. However, they only reduce inflammation to manage pain, offering temporary relief and are not recommended for long-term use.
Exercise is important to not only reduce your risk of osteoarthritis but also to slow the progress of the disease if you have developed it. Exercise is an important part of any weight management plan and will also help you improve your mobility, flexibility, and strength. Low-impact exercises such as tai chi, yoga, cycling, swimming, and walking are recommended by experts as they are likely to put strain on a damaged joint. If you have not exercised for a while, your doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist who can help with putting together a program that suits you and reduces your risk of injury.
Regular stretching can be useful for improving your flexibility and providing relief for joints that are achy, stiff, or painful. You may be referred to a physiotherapist who can provide you with guidance for stretching safely and effectively. Start slowly with gentle stretches that you can use to build up your flexibility levels over time. Slowly increase the intensity of your stretches and stop if you feel any pain. If after the first few days of stretching you don’t feel pain, increase the amount of time you spend on it. You may find it difficult to stretch very far at first, but your flexibility will increase over time.
In some cases, you may find that a walking aid is helpful for taking pressure off your hips and providing more support to your joints. Using a walking aid such as a cane or walking frame can also reduce your risk of falling by providing more balance and stability. There are a few things to consider if you want to use a cane to help. First of all, ensure that the cane you choose is the right size. It should come to the top of your wrist; if you are slumped or slouching over when using it, then it is too short. Make sure that you use the cane on the opposite side of your body to the affected hip as this will provide support when you step forward with the affected leg. Position the cane around two inches to the side or front of you to get the right balance.
If other management and treatment options are not having the desired effect and no longer work for you, or if the osteoarthritis is having a significant impact on your quality of life, then you may be referred for surgery. Find out more about hip surgery options at Circle Health Group. Circle Health Group is a private healthcare provider in the UK offering a wide range of surgical procedures and treatments to help with osteoarthritis and other hip conditions. This could involve surgery to resurface the hip. In this type of hip surgery, the damaged bone and cartilage are trimmed and capped with a metal shell. Alternatively, you may need a total hip replacement with a prosthetic.
Osteoarthritis of the hip can be a painful condition that impacts your quality of life. There are several treatments available, some of which might be more effective than others depending on the severity of your symptoms.