• Mr Simon Garrett

Quick Guide to Hip Arthritis

From common causes to treatments, here is a quick guide to hip osteoarthritis as a handy resource for you or your family whenever you need!



Some forms of hip pain stem from hip arthritis, also known as hip osteoarthritis, which is fairly common in patients ages 45 and over, though it is not unheard of to see younger patients with this condition. In this post we will explore some facts, the causes and treatments as your quick pocket-guide for hip arthritis.


Hip Arthritis Facts


Here are some interesting facts about hip arthritis that are helpful to know:

  • Hip arthritis often starts with an aching discomfort in the groin and is often put down as a ‘pulled muscle’

  • No one is too young to get hip arthritis

  • Lots of sport or activity does not cause arthritis

  • Pain is often felt in a combination of a few of these areas: Low back, buttock, groin, side of hip, thigh, knee, shin and foot

  • X-rays are usually sufficient to diagnose the condition, occasionally further scans are needed

  • Hip replacement is the most successful orthopaedic operation

  • Approximately 100,000 hip replacements are performed per year in the UK alone.

What causes hip arthritis?


Hip arthritis is caused by wearing away of the nice smooth cartilage that covers the bones in our joints. Gradually all the cartilage disappears and it leaves rough bone rubbing on rough bone, hence pain and stiffness - this is what you feel when you experience hip pain; the longer you ignore the pain, the more prominent these symptoms become and can go from being mild to chronic hip pain.


Being active and taking part in regular sports or activities does not cause arthritis, arthritis is a normal part of life that joints are exposed to natural wear and tear over many years. Our joints are very good at preparing any low-level damage without us experiencing any symptoms at all, but if they have not had time to heal following an injury or a previous surgery, then this might speed up that natural wear and tear process.


Here are some other factors that may increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis:

Secondary arthritis: this can happen in the joints that are damaged by an existing condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout

  • Your age: as we have explored, the older you are the higher your risk of developing hip arthritis

  • Family History: if your relatives have experienced osteoarthritis this could mean that you are at a higher risk, though studies have not confirmed any particular gene is responsible

  • Obesity: weight can put excess strain on your joints such as your hips and knees in particular, so the more weight equals more pressure, and an increased risk of hip osteoarthritis

  • Being Female: hip arthritis is more common in women versus men which could be due to many gender orientated factors such as having to give birth for example


While we cannot prevent hip arthritis altogether, there are some things you can do in your day-to-day routine that will help prolong the symptoms and decrease your risk of osteoarthritis.



Exercise


We recommend avoiding exercises that force your joints to bear excessive weight such as running and weight training. The best forms of exercise for your joints are swimming, cycling and even yoga where you don't put as much strain on your joints yet you are working them in a healthy way.


NHS England recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity like cycling or walking each week, combined with regular strengthening exercises 2 days each week to work your main muscle groups such as your core to keep yourself generally healthy.

Here is the NHS's guide to health and fitness, including tips on simple exercises you can do at home.



Posture


Maintaining a good posture and avoiding staying in the same position such as sitting for too long can help. Working at a desk means you should make sure that you have a comfortable chair that is at the correct height and that you take breaks to move around and stretch at the end of the working day.


Here is the NHS's guide to common posture mistakes and fixes.


Losing weight


Obesity can be a huge risk to your joints resulting in arthritis. This is due to the weight causing strain on joints such as your hips and your knees that speed up the natural wear and tear process.


Use the NHS's healthy weight calculator to find out whether you're overweight or obese or find out more about losing weight.



Treatments for Osteoarthritis


Treatments for hip arthritis include painkillers, physiotherapy, life style changes, injections and of course surgery. A specialist consultant hip surgeon will be able to help you decide which treatments are right for you and whether surgery is needed or not.




Experiencing ongoing pains, aches and stiffness?


We hope you have found this quick guide to hip osteoarthritis useful for you or a family, or friend. If you are experiencing ongoing aches, pains and stiffness in your hips and you would like to see a private hip specialist, do not hesitate to contact us to see Mr Garrett at one of his private clinics in Poole, Bournemouth or Dorchester, Dorset.