Osteoarthritis is basically a degenerative joint disorder that typically affects any joint in the body, including the hips. As time passes by, due to the normal aging process, injury or other factors, the cartilage that provides cushion to the joints start to break down. Without the cartilage, the bones of the joint rub together during movement. Understandably, the bone to bone contact causes stiffness, pain and decreased mobility. This is true particularly with osteoarthritis of the hip since it is comprised of large joints that support the body’s weight with every step taken. The available treatment options for hip arthritis can range from pain management, lifestyle modifications, exercise programs and even surgical interventions.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hip?
The primary symptom of hip arthritis is the stiffness of the hips, thighs, groin and buttocks. The individual will feel stiffness upon waking up in the morning or when sitting for an extended period. The sharp or dull pain can bother individuals who are more active and then vanish when resting. The other symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hip include tenderness at the area surrounding the joint, swelling and grating sensation when the joint is moved.
Diagnosing osteoarthritis of the hip
The doctor will diagnose osteoarthritis of the hip by taking the medical history of the individual and performing certain tests. During the examination, it can include mild palpation of the joint in order to feel if the hip is swollen while an X-ray is taken to check if the cartilage is weakening. The individual will also be asked to walk to assess if the range of motion is limited.
Management of pain
Managing pain is the initial first aid measure for osteoarthritis of the hip. If the symptoms are mild, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen can be given to minimize the pain.
As for those with moderate symptoms, it would require prescription pain medications. Take note that the injected corticosteroid medications are stronger for severe hip pain that could not be controlled by oral medications. These medications are directly injected into the hip and will reduce the swelling and pain around the joint.
Changes in the lifestyle might be the solution. In some individuals, their lifestyle might contribute to hip arthritis especially occupations that involve a lot of physical labor. Initially, it is important to rest by eliminating or reducing activities that aggravate the symptoms. A diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help minimize the signs of arthritis. The application of a heat compress to a stiff joint or cold compress to swollen areas can greatly help.
Osteoarthritis of the hip can disrupt the life of an individual, but there are ways to continue a normal life. If possible, it is best to consult a doctor early so that the appropriate treatment plan can be started. Even though osteoarthritis has no cure, there are several treatment options to help manage the condition effectively.