How it happens: The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that is padded and protected during movement by smooth cartilage. When cartilage wears down due to various factors such as overuse, aging, and stress on the body due to obesity, the bones rub against each other, causing symptoms such as pain. This is a common area in which his OA develops. Also, although RA usually starts in small joints, it can also appear in the hip joints.
“The hip really moves the boat,” says Dr. Gibson, who specializes in both hip and knee conditions. “Poor hip motion puts strain on the feet and ankles, and makes knees difficult to move. You may notice moving groin pain. ”
Self care: Start an exercise program (or make necessary changes to avoid high-impact sports such as running or tennis), maintain a healthy diet, and lose weight as needed.
Dr. Gibson suggests trying a “gentle cyclic load program,” such as walking or low-impact aerobics. These types of activities have been shown to protect joints. Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
What our specialists can help you with: If hip arthritis is limiting your ability to function or perform regular activities, see a professional, Dr. Gibson says.
Professionals start with non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy and oral medications. If these simple treatments fail, more invasive treatments, such as corticosteroid hip injections, can minimize symptoms and preserve function. An injection is a “double-edged sword” in that it reduces inflammation and relieves acute pain, but it can be toxic to the area where it is administered, says Dr. Gibson. “So I don’t want to do too many. Maybe two or he three a year at the most.”
If you are considering surgery: Hip replacement surgery is considered one of the most successful surgeries in orthopedic surgery, explains Dr. Gibson. It is minimally invasive and can often be done as an outpatient procedure. “It’s a really dramatic and transformative operation. It puts the person who was sitting back in a place where they can do almost anything,” he says.
Hip replacements use implants made from a combination of metals, plastics and ceramics that last for decades. One of his surgeries, called a direct anterior approach, does not require any muscle incisions to replace the hip, which surgeons say leads to easier rehabilitation.
Whatever approach a patient chooses, the key is finding a surgeon who is comfortable performing that particular procedure in high volume, Dr. Gibson adds.
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