Hip Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis involves changes to the surface of your joints. The hip is a ball and socket joint. The cartilage covering the ends of both the ball and socket bones can roughen and become thinner. The bone next to the cartilage can also be affected and bony growths can develop around the edges, these growths are called osteophytes.
What are the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis?

The main symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain - especially when weight bearing, such as walking. This is often felt deep in the front of your groin, but pain can also be felt on the outside of the hip, in the buttock and can spread down to your knee
  • Stiffness – often this can be worse in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest
  • Grinding, clicking or crunching when the joint moves
  • Difficulty putting shoes and socks on or crossing your legs
The level of pain can vary from person to person, with some people reporting a mild niggle that comes and goes and others reporting a severe ache that can keep people awake at night.

What causes hip osteoarthritis?
There often isn't one individual cause for hip osteoarthritis, it affects men and women equally and can develop from middle age onwards.

Factors that may play a role in the development of hip osteoarthritis include:
  • Age - hip osteoarthritis becomes more common with increasing age
  • Obesity
  • Hip problems at birth or in childhood
  • Genetics
  • Physical work, such as construction, may increase the chances of developing hip osteoarthritis later in life
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosis is usually made from the patient's history and a simple examination without the need for further investigations. Sometimes an x-ray may be arranged if a clinician is uncertain about the diagnosis or wishes to see the extent of the osteoarthritis.

How can I manage hip osteoarthritis?
Pain relief
Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory gels may be helpful to control the pain and allow you to continue exercising. Discuss this with your GP or Pharmacist.

Weight loss
If you are overweight, reducing your weight can also improve symptoms through reducing the stress on your joints.
Regular exercise is important, increasing day to day activity levels has also been shown to improve some symptoms of osteoarthritis. Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (such as cycling or fast walking) every week.
Other Advice
  • Consider pacing activities throughout the day, taking regular breaks with jobs like gardening.
  • If pain is becoming a major problem,  a walking stick may help with mobility
Further management
If there is no response to the self-management information given within four to six weeks, please seek further advice from your Physiotherapist or GP.

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