Degenerative arthritis of the hip, also known as hip osteoarthritis, is a debilitating condition that can impact your quality of life. Many people view this condition as a natural consequence of aging. However, there are many ways to prevent or manage the disease. Given that early action can save your hips from further damage, learning the essentials about degenerative hip arthritis is one investment you can do for your health.
Your hips, like all other joints, rely on muscle and connective tissue for support. The inner surfaces of the hip joints are lined with cartilage, a resilient support tissue that provides mechanical cushioning for your joint.
Over time, wear and tear can compromise the protective layer of cartilage in your hips. Other connective tissues can then start to degrade, resulting in pain and inflammation and causing irreversible damage to the bones of your hip.
Signs and Complications
Symptoms of arthritis tend to develop gradually, but the disease will progress unless you get adequate treatment. One hallmark symptom is pain, with the discomfort intensifying during and after movement or in cold weather. Joint stiffness can also occur, particularly after sleeping or other periods of inactivity.
Tissues near the joint might be noticeably tender due to the inflammation. Swelling is also possible.
You may also feel grating, popping, or crackling sensations whenever you move your hips. Excess bone growths near the joint, called bone spurs, can manifest and are sometimes felt as hard lumps.
If you allow osteoarthritis to progress, the joint stiffness and discomfort will only worsen. Some patients report lower quality of life as the pain prevents them from doing everyday activities. The recurring pain can lead to poor sleep and mental health conditions such as depression.
Arthritis Prevention and Management
Risk factors for hips arthritis include obesity and repeated stress on the hips. As such, prevention and management of hip arthritis rely on reversing the risk factors for the disease.
Weight loss programs are useful, given that many people who already have arthritis are unable to engage in physical activity properly. Losing excess weight lightens the load that the hip joints need to bear, reducing the rate of wear and mitigating symptoms.
Low-impact exercises can increase local blood circulation, which is helpful in the management of hip arthritis. These exercises also allow patients to be physically active without causing further deterioration of the hip joints.
Proper nutrition is also vital for preventing arthritis or controlling its symptoms. Without the right nutrients, your body will be less able to repair tissue, accelerating the progression of the disease.
Treatments for Hip Arthritis
Conservative treatments include physical therapy and the use of supportive devices. Specific exercises can strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments supporting the hip joints, allowing them to offer better support. Meanwhile, devices such as canes or crutches allow greater mobility while reducing mechanical stress on the hips.
Patients may also take medications to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Various formulations are available for arthritis, including over-the-counter items and prescription drugs.
If these conservative treatments fail to bring good outcomes, your physician may suggest surgical intervention. One type of surgery for hip arthritis is total joint replacement, where surgeons replace the damaged joint with an artificial implant. With adequate preparation and rehabilitation, hip surgery can allow you to become independent and physically active again.
Degenerative Arthritis Treatment in Palm Beach County, Florida
Osteoarthritis of the hip is a disorder that requires timely management, so knowing about the condition can empower you to seek help as early as you can. By working with a trusted orthopedic care provider, you can protect your hips from osteoarthritis and other diseases.
Located in Boynton Beach, Florida, Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches has been a leading provider of orthopedic care to our community since 2007. Our orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and spine specialists all work together to provide quality patient-centered care for a wide range of orthopedic conditions. To learn more, call us at (561) 733-5888 or use our online appointment form.