Arthritis of the hip

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

More than 100 different types of arthritis exist. Many of them may affect the hip including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout, and pseudogout.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of hip arthritis.

OA is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It is characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint. As the protective cartilage is worn away by hip arthritis, bare bone is exposed.

OA of the hip can lead to a condition known as impingement where restriction of motion is accompanied by pain. Spurs on either the acetabular side of the hip ("pincer") or on the femoral head ("CAM") can be the culprits.

Hip arthritis typically affects patients past 40 years of age, although it may occur earlier in people who are predisposed as a result of genetics or previous trauma. T

Hip arthritis symptoms tend to progress as the condition worsens.

Hip arthritis symptoms wax and wane and do not always progress steadily with time. Often patients report good months and bad months or symptom alterations with weather changes.

The most common symptoms of hip arthritis are:

• Pain with activity
• Limited range of motion
• Stiffness
• A limp
• Limited ability to get shoes and sox on and off the affected foot
• Limited ability to go up stairs

Some people complain of pain at night.

Evaluation of a patient with hip arthritis should begin with a physical examination and x-rays. These can serve as a baseline to compare with later examinations and determine progression of the condition.

Treatment of hip arthritis should begin with the most basic steps. Not all treatments are appropriate in every patient and surgery is reserved for the last step.

• Weight Loss is something to consider in overweight individuals. The less weight the joint has to carry, the less painful activities will be. Interestingly, there is no correlation between obesity and hip OA as there is with obesity and knee OA.
• Limiting certain activities may be necessary, and learning new exercise methods may be helpful. Avoidance of high impact aerobic exercises is advised. Aquatic exercise is an excellent option for patients who have difficulty exercising.
• Stretching exercises are often very helpful in alleviating pain.
• Use of a cane or a single crutch is the hand opposite the affected hip will help decrease the demand placed on the arthritic joint.
• Strengthening of the muscles around the hip joint may help decrease the burden on the hip. Preventing atrophy of the muscles is an important part of maintaining functional use of the hip.
• Anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDs) and analgesics are helpful for reducing pain and inflammation.
• Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are safe and effective for treatment of osteoarthritis.
• Total hip replacement surgery is a last resort.

A better option than surgery is stem cell therapy. In this procedure, a small needle is inserted into the iliac crest of the pelvis (near the hip) and bone marrow is aspirated from the patient. Bone marrow contains a large number of stem cells. The stem cells are then concentrated using a special technique. At the same time platelet rich plasma is obtained by drawing a specimen of the patient's blood and then putting the blood in a special centrifuge. Platelets are cells that contain numerous growth factors. A small needle is then inserted into the joint and the cartilage is "teased". Once the teasing procedure is completed, the stem cells and the platelet rich plasma are then injected into the joint (usually a hip or knee). Studies have demonstrated regeneration and regrowth of cartilage.

Get more information about arthritis of the hip and related conditions as well as...

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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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