Are you bothered by hip pain that is slowing you down? Have you talked to your doctor about it yet? If you’ve been diagnosed with hip arthritis, you are not suffering alone. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of disability in adults. This disability is the result of chronic pain and inflammation in your joints, which causes them to become weaker, less stable, and stiff. One of the most common places for osteoarthritis formation is the hip joint. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged, because there are treatments your orthopedic surgeon can recommend that can lead you back to a normal and active lifestyle.
Osteoarthritis of the Hip Explained
Your hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball at the head of the long thigh bone (femur) rests in the socket of the hip (pelvic bone). The joint is stabilized by ligaments and muscles, and the surfaces of the bones are protected by cartilage and lubricating fluid (synovial fluid). Injury or damage to these components can cause inflammation, damage to cartilage, and loss of protective fluids. The result is a painful joint that cannot move properly.
Healthcare professionals describe risk factors as modifiable and nonmodifiable. In other words, things that increase your risk of disease that you can change (modifiable), and those you can’t (nonmodifiable). Understanding this concept can help you make lifestyle changes to protect your hips from accelerating the development of arthritis in your hips.
Age is one of the biggest risk factors associated with osteoarthritis, with anyone over the age of 50 being at higher risk. While both men and women can develop osteoarthritis, it is more common in women. Studies have identified women as being almost two times as likely to develop arthritis than men. Beyond gender, about 30% of all cases of osteoarthritis is related to genetics, so if you have a family history of it, you may have some predisposition to developing osteoarthritis yourself. Finally, prior injury to your hip, such as a fracture from a car accident, will increase the risk of hip osteoarthrosis developing in the future.
While there are some things you cannot change, understanding the things you can change to protect your joints can lead to less pain and a more active lifestyle. One of the most significant factors associated with not only the development of osteoarthritis, but also the worsening of the disease is being overweight. In fact, carrying extra weight is associated with a greater likelihood of needing hip replacement surgery in the future. Your occupation as well as your routine activities can also contribute to the development of arthritis. People who have jobs involving heavy physical workload or manual labor are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, with nearly double the risk. Anyone involved routinely in heavy lifting as well as high impact activities such as landscapers or athletes may also develop hip arthritis in the future.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Understanding the risks associated with hip arthritis is the first step to helping you prevent future pain or disability. You can’t change your age, your gender, or your family history, but there are things you can change. If you are overweight, eating a well-balanced diet including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and avoiding sugary and high fat foods can help you shed the excess pounds. Daily weight bearing exercise like walking will not only help to keep your weight in a healthy range but will also strengthen muscles that support your hips and encourage strong healthy bone growth and development.
If you are already suffering from arthritis, a regular exercise routine including strengthening and stretching will help. Over-the-counter pain medications as well as prescription medications can also help. If you find that such remedies are no longer managing the pain well, there are other treatment options available through orthopedic surgeons. The last treatment for severe hip arthritis is joint replacement surgery, which replaces the damaged joint with an artificial one. This restores your hip and can significantly reduce or even eliminate pain.
How An Orthopedic Surgeon Can Help
An orthopedic surgeon is a specialized expert in treating problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and bones. If you have arthritis of the hip, your orthopedic surgeon can do a number of things to help ease your pain and get you moving again. When over-the-counter medications are not working, there are prescription anti-inflammatory medications that may offer better relief, as well as possible injections. Additionally, while exercising on your own is helpful, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend specific exercises, or even refer you to physical therapy for a more structured program.
Finally, as osteoarthritis advances to its more severe form, hip replacement surgery may be recommended. With this treatment, your orthopedic surgeon removes thee diseased joint and replaces it with a new metal, ceramic, plastic, or combination of materials to create a new hip joint that moves smoothly and without the pain of arthritis.
Hip Arthritis Treatment in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, and Brier Creek, North Carolina
If you are experiencing hip pain, are interested in learning more about hip arthritis treatments including hip replacement surgery, or if you have any other concerns about any other joint, we’re just a phone call away.
To seek the expert advice of Dr. Brett Gilbert, contact us today by calling us at (919) 788-8797 or request an appointment online.