Hip Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Hip Osteoarthritis

Sometimes called “wear-and-tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis is a common condition that many people develop during middle age or older. In 2011, more than 28 million people in the United States were estimated to have osteoarthritis. It can occur in any joint in the body, but most often develops in weight-bearing joints, such as the hip.

Anatomy of the hip

The hip is one of the body’s largest joints. It is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur (thighbone).

 

The bone surfaces of the ball and socket are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth tissue that cushions the ends of the bones and enables them to move easily.

 

A thin tissue called synovial membrane surrounds the hip joint. In a healthy hip, this membrane makes a small amount of fluid that lubricates the cartilage and eliminates almost all friction during hip movement.

 

Bands of tissue called ligaments (the hip capsule) connect the ball to the socket and provide stability to the joint.

Nonsurgical Treatment

As with other arthritic conditions, initial treatment of arthritis of the hip is nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend a range of treatment options.

 

Lifestyle modifications. Some changes in your daily life can protect your hip joint and slow the progress of arthritis.

  • Minimize activities that aggravate the condition, such as climbing stairs.
  • Switching from high impact activities (like jogging or tennis) to lower impact activities (like swimming or cycling) will put less stress on your hip.
  • Losing weight can reduce stress on the hip joint, resulting in less pain and increased function.

 

Physical therapy: Specific exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility, as well as help strengthen the muscles in your leg.

 

Assistive devices: Using devices such as a cane can be helpful.

 

Other remedies: Applying heat or ice, using pain-relieving ointments or creams, or wearing elastic bandages to provide support to the hip may provide some relief from pain.

 

Medications:

  • Over-the-counter, non-narcotic pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications are usually the first choice of therapy for arthritis of the hip.
  • Another type of pain reliever is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID (pronounced “en-said”). NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.
  • Corticosteroids (also known as cortisone) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can be injected into the joint These injections provide pain relief and reduce inflammation; however, the effects do not last indefinitely.
  • Viscosupplementation involves injecting substances into the joint to improve the quality of the joint fluid.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, substances found naturally in joint cartilage, can be taken as dietary supplements. Although patient reports indicate that these supplements may relieve pain, there is no evidence to support the use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to decrease or reverse the progression of arthritis. 

In hip osteoarthritis, the smooth articular cartilage wears away and becomes frayed and rough.

Surgical Treatment