Osteoarthritis also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage). Osteoarthritis is characterized by damaged articular cartilage, cartilage lining the hip joint. Advanced age is one of the most common reasons for osteoarthritis of the hip. You may also develop osteoarthritis if you had a hip injury or fracture in the past, if you have a family history of osteoarthritis, suffering from hip diseases such as avascular necrosis and other congenital or developmental hip diseases.
The characteristic symptoms and diagnostic test help in diagnosing the condition. You will experience severe pain confined to hip and thighs, morning stiffness and limited range of motion. Based on the symptoms, your orthopedic surgeon will perform a physical examination, X-rays and other scans, and also some blood tests to rule out the other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
Management of Osteoarthritis
The objective of the treatment is to reduce pain, improve joint movement, and prevent further damage to the joint.
The non-surgical treatment of osteoarthritis involves:
Pain-relieving medications such as NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors and opioids may be prescribed. Topical medications such as ointments can be applied over the skin where there is a pain.
These injections of steroids are given directly into the affected joint for severe pain when the use of NSAIDs does not bring much relief. Steroids are very strong anti-inflammatory drugs and if used orally cause various side effects on other body systems. Local analgesics that prevent the sensation of pain are sometimes given along with steroids in the same shot to bring relief quickly.
Some of the lifestyle modifications include:
- A moderate exercise program
- Use of heat or cold treatments
- Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Getting adequate rest
- Losing weight
- Protecting your joints with the use of assistive devices such as splints or braces to support the weakened joints
Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength.