Hip osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage is damaged within the hip joint. Cartilage, which is the connective tissue that covers the ends of the bones within your joints, helps to reduce friction between your bones and absorb shock.
In the hip joint, cartilage covers the ball (top of the thighbone) and the socket (where the thighbone connects with your pelvis). When the cartilage is damaged, it becomes thinner and rougher. Over time, the bones can end up rubbing directly against one another. This friction can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.
Symptoms of hip arthritis can include:
- Pain that worsens when bearing weight or moving the hip
- Stiffness in the joint that impacts movement
- Popping or clicking sounds that occur when moving the hip joint
- Weakness in the hip
Who is more likely to have hip arthritis?
Adults over the age of 50 are more likely than younger individuals to have hip arthritis, however, it may occur in younger people as well. While there are several causes for hip arthritis, the most common is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common condition that occurs as people age, and is often referred to as “wear-and-tear arthritis.”
Other populations at higher risk of hip arthritis include those individuals living with:
- Hip dysplasia, or who have irregularly shaped hip bones
- Immune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis
- Avascular necrosis (when the bone loses blood supply)
- A history of hip fracture, traumatic injury, or overuse of the joint
How is hip arthritis treated?
Hip arthritis is a chronic condition. It can be managed, but gradually worsens over time. Treatment options include:
- Avoiding high-impact or painful activities
- Physical therapy
- Medications and/or walking aids
- Weight loss
When hip arthritis becomes severe enough, pain worsens, daily activities are impacted, and nonsurgical treatment options no longer relieve your symptoms, surgical treatment may be recommended. A hip replacement, or “total hip,” is often the best surgical treatment option for hip arthritis. Hip replacements remove and replace the damaged joint.
Benefits to Total Hip Replacement
- Relieves pain and increase mobility, so you can return to the activities you love
- Decreases risk of hip fractures
- Long-lasting solution that improves quality of life
Hip replacements have made great strides over the years, both in technique, and materials used. The direct anterior hip replacement is a minimally invasive surgical approach that allows surgeons to remove and replace the hip while doing less damage to muscles and tendons nearby, thus shortening the time patients spend in the hospital and causing less immediate post-operative pain.
While many individuals are reluctant to have surgery, a hip replacement can have a dramatic impact on the lives of people who suffer from hip arthritis.