Arthritis is a general term meaning “inflammation of the joint”. To help provide smooth, pain-free motion to the joint, the bones in a joint are covered with a tough, lubricating tissue called cartilage. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the layer of the cartilage to gradually wear away until bone begins to rub against bone. Hip arthritis can affect one or both hips. It can occur in young, middle age, and older patients. Most often hip arthritis is the result of wearing out of the joint. However, other conditions can lead to arthritis in the hip such as prior injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and in some cases the causes of hip arthritis are completely unknown.
Hip arthritis symptoms include pain in the groin, stiffness, difficulties with walking. Some patients may experience difficulties in bending over to put on their shoes and socks, getting in and out of a car. Other people may notice that a patient with hip arthritis has a limp, tending to lean towards one side when walking. It may become difficult to go up and down stairs. Sometimes the pain from an arthritic hip can wake a patient up at night.
Initially, we start with simple things such as over-the-counter analgesic such as Tylenol. In some patients, anti-inflammatory medications may be appropriate. Using a cane in the opposite hand can take pressure off the affected arthritic hip. Moreover, exercise can be of benefit in terms of maintaining mobility of the joint. Ultimately, if conservative measures fail, surgery is needed.
Are there things I can do to slow the progression of hip arthritis?
Unfortunately, the progression of arthritis can’t be stopped. The cartilage that has been worn away from the bone and will not grow back, but you can try to alleviate your symptoms.
Is exercise good or bad for my arthritic hip joint?
Although exercise may cause discomfort, proper exercise can help nourish the cartilage, strengthen the muscles, and prolong life of your joints.
What types of exercise are best for patients with arthritis?
Swimming is a good exercise for arthritis. Water’s buoyancy can help protect the joints from impact injury. Water also resists movement, which can helpful for strengthening. Walking and yoga are also good exercises. Check with your surgeon first to obtain any exercise precautions or guidelines. Walking is an excellent form of endurance exercise for almost anyone.
Are there exercises I should avoid if I have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis?
Impact exercises (e.g. running or jumping) put stress on the joints and may cause damage to the remaining cartilage.
Does it matter what foods I eat if I have arthritis?
Consuming too much food can cause our bodies to gain weight. Weight gain increases the stress on your hip joints. Eating a healthy well balanced diet is recommended.