Osteoarthritis hip, which is medically known as Coxartosis refers to the wear or degeneration of the joint. The hip gradually wears out from the constant movement, shock, walking, and bearing weight. From a certain point we begin to lose cartilage (which is what makes the joint smooth and cushioned), which means the bone begins to deform and lose functionality and causes pain in the hip.

Osteoarthritis hip is common and more so in older patients. In young patients it is often associated with other problems such as traumatic dislocation of the hip, avascular necrosis of the femoral head, epiphysiolysis of the femoral head, Perthes disease or the developmental of dysplasia of the hip.

Osteoarthritis hip symptoms

Hip osteoarthritis is characterized by pain usually related to activity and movement. The pain occurs mainly in the inguinal region, and causes decreased mobility. There may also be loss of leg strength and if it is advanced can usually cause lameness.

In the first phases the illness can be well tolerated, but progresses slowly. In the early stages, conservative measures can slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Activity modification is usually advised. Contact sports, running, jumping and spinning are all discouraged. Pool exercises, fitness and cycling are highly recommended to maintain mobility and strength in the joints. Also the patient is advised to avoid being overweight.

Osteoarthritis hip causes

There are factors that aggravate the wear and tear of the hip. The patient being overweight is an important factor, but also shock to the joints and genetic predispositions that make the joint less resistant.

Osteoarthritis can also occur in younger patients who have had previous accidents, surgery or secondary involvement with rheumatic disease.

Osteoarthritis is common in other joints such as the knees, hands and spine. Once a joint begins the degenerative process it is difficult to stop, and so the proportion of older patients with osteoarthritis increases.

Osteoarthritis hip treatments

Osteoarthritis hip treatments depend on how affected the joint is and the functionality limitation of the hip (difficulty walking and moving).

It is very important to control weight for obvious reasons. The more weight (especially if excessive) means the joints have to endure more suffering and this makes the joints deteriorate faster.

Exercise is essential to maintain a well functioning hip. Exercise and sports are important to help keep the joints functioning. Contact sports, running, jumping and spinning are discouraged. Yet pool exercises, fitness and cycling are highly recommended to maintain mobility and strength in the body and joints.

There is also the possibility of taking a medication to strengthen the structure of cartilage and to slow the progress of the disease, but they should be used only under doctors prescription. Also, at peak times, the doctor can do an infiltration with anti inflammatory medication for the hip.

Viscosupplementation is a hyaluronic acid injection with works by improving the ‘area’ around the joint, acting as an artificial synovial fluid which nourishes the cartilage and improves the sliding of the surfaces. The hip joint is surrounded by powerful muscles and is inaccessible to palpation, so the infiltrations are often controlled by X-ray or ultrasound.

Therapy with growth factors or platelet-derived stem cells may also provide a partial and temporary improvement in symptoms, but they are not a complete cure of the disease. When osteoarthritis is advanced including severe deformity, significant pain and the patient can no longer perform a normal day to day life, it’s time to speak with the doctor about having surgery.

These osteoarthritis hip treatments are available in IMED Hospitals.

Hip prosthesis

In most patients with generalized severe hip osteoarthritis the solution is the implementation of a full hip denture.

Hip prosthesis generally consist of a femoral component, called stem, a head at its end, and an acetabular cup component in the pelvis. Polyethylene is a specialized piece of plastic that sits between the cup and head. It has evolved tremendously in recent years as have the design of the prosthesis and the materials they are made from. Such as the metal cobalt-chromium alloys, titanium prostheses exist, and ceramic femoral head. Depending on the case and the surgeons preference, modular stems, cemented or not, and being longer or shorter, etc are chosen..

The results are usually very good in the majority of patients. Pain and function are significantly improved almost immediately. The patient then stays in the hospital for about a week, and sometimes a blood transfusion may by needed due to bleeding from the operation. The patient then uses crutches for about a month.