Hip Arthritis

The hip joint is lined by articular cartilage a specialised lining which allows smooth pain free motion of the joint. Arthritis is a degeneration or wearing out of this lining which results in the bone ends rubbing on one another rather than the articular cartilage.The two most common forms are osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis.

What Causes Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is very common. The exact cause is unknown and can occur for no apparent reason other than general wear and tear or it may result from a number of conditions the commonest of which are trauma, childhood hip disorders such as a dysplastic hip, avascular necrosis, obesity, certain diseases of bone and connective tissue, infection. Inflammatory arthritis, the most common of which is rheumatoid arthritis, is an immune disorder whereby there is inflammation of the synovial lining of the joint which releases chemicals or enzymes into the joint resulting in damage to the lining(articular surface).

What Are The symptoms?

Pain which is usually located in the groin or buttock region. Stiffness making it difficult to get to shoes and socks and get out of chair, Limp, Limitation of walking either due to pain or fatigue.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Osteoarthritis is diagnosed on history, physical examination and X-ray. Physical examination will reveal pain on moving the joint and limitation of movement.
Hip Arthritis

X-Ray: Osteoarthritis of the hip with
narrow joint space

X-rays will reveal narrowing of the joint space and often deformity of the bones and new bone formation (osteophytes)

Blood tests are useful in inflammatory arthritis.

What Is The Treatment?

Non-Operative Treatment

  • Simple analgesia
  • Antiinflammatories supervised by local doctor
  • Use of a walking stick in the opposite hand to take force off the hip
  • weight loss
  • Maintenance of fitness and muscle tone
  • Special medications for inflammatory arthritis

Operative Treatment

Operations for hip arthritis usually involve a hip replacement but occasionally an osteotomy can be performed which means cutting the bone and realigning it to take stress off a certain affected region.

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