Hip arthrosis: what it is and what are the symptoms

Osteoarthritis of the hip consists of the degeneration or wear of the hyaline cartilage present at each end of a joint. This cartilage covers the joint to protect it against sliding of the joint on another as well as the cushioning of loads.

An imbalance due to trauma, genetic defect and even misuse of the joint decreases the ability to retain water from the cartilage. This results in a progressive wear of the joint until the bones end up deforming. For this reason there is pain and loss of mobility.

Causes and risk factors

Its cause is unknown although there are several conditions that favor its appearance. First there is a genetic load whereby osteoarthritis can be inherited.

The malformations of the limbs also predispose to suffer, especially in the lower extremities, which support the weight. For this reason, overweight or obesity contribute to overloading the hips and knees, increasing the possibility of wear.

The intensive sports practice can also favor the appearance of osteoarthritis, especially in the lower extremities, as well as certain trades. Trauma can also lead to early osteoarthritis because a fracture can cause the joint to stop fitting well.

What are the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis?

The most important symptom is pain, It manifests in the groin, in the thigh, in the inner part of the thighs and even in the knees. Pain is usually related to activity and is relieved by rest.

Although this type of pain is called mechanical pain and is different from inflammatory joint pain. Inflammatory joint pain persists even at rest.

Both hips may be affected, although it usually hurts only one or especially one. Another symptom of hip osteoarthritis is the loss of movement, which makes daily activities difficult.

Both pain and disability are progressive although the evolution are different in each person. Lameness is another symptom of hip osteoarthritis. It is accompanied by a characteristic body swing if it affects both joints.

Hip osteoarthritis has a slow evolution over the years, depending on the activity that it leads. Many people with the help of proper treatment, can make normal life.

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Diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis

The diagnosis is made with a questioning about the symptoms and their characteristics. In addition, an exploration of the hip joint is made, with its movements. In this way, the specialist can evaluate the degree of osteoarthritis that exists.

The x-ray of the hip is done to confirm the diagnosis. The typical changes produced by hip osteoarthritis are observed. This allows to establish a prognosis on the severity of it, depending on which hip is more or less worn.

There is no direct relationship between the intensity of degeneration and that of symptoms. However, a very worn hip may be free of pain, although it will always be more rigid, and vice versa.

Read also: Prevent hip pain: 6 tips to help you

Treatment

The main objective of the treatment of osteoarthritis is to improve pain and functional disability.

Pharmacotherapy

The drugs are useful to control pain in hip osteoarthritis. In addition, they improve the functionality of the people affected.

  • Analgesics: they are the most used medications. They reduce pain and improve the stiffness of the joint. The most common analgesic is paracetamol.
  • Anti-inflammatories: They are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, they are used especially when the pain is more acute.
  • Chondroprotectors: they are constitutive substances of the articular cartilage and that diminish the pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are included in this group.
  • Intraarticular therapy or infiltrations: Anti-inflammatory substances are administered inside the joint. In most cases glucocorticoids are infiltrated and, more recently, hyaluronic acid.

Good habits for hip osteoarthritis

The most effective measure in hip osteoarthritis is prevention and acquire good life habits such as:

  • Avoid overweight: Weight loss clearly improves the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Do not perform repetitive movements.
  • Correct postural hygiene.
  • Physical exercise: This must be individualized for each patient and must be done on a regular basis.

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