Hip Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition which commonly affects older people; it limits the range of movement and decreases the looseness of the joints. The most commonly affected joints include the hips, shoulders and knees; the movement of the hands and toes may also be limited by the onset of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

The most common symptoms include a limited range of movement in the affected joint, stiffness, swelling and localised pain. Pain usually intensifies as the joints are used increasingly; this means people with osteoarthritis often experience heightened pain in the evenings. Some people may also develop bony growths; this is especially common in osteoarthritis of the toes and hands.

Hip osteoarthritis

Hip osteoarthritis usually results from old age, obesity or a joint injury. Hip joint injuries may be caused by high impact accidents or sports injuries which occur as a result of repeated movements or prolonged exercise on hard surfaces. Repeated actions can cause cartilage to wear down over time meaning bones grind together; this is painful and affects the movement of the joint. Commonly, osteoarthritis has a gradual onset meaning an individual’s condition worsens over time. Research has shown that professional sports players are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee and hip joints, in later life; this link was particularly strong in rugby and football players.

Effects of hip osteoarthritis

As with other forms of the condition, hip osteoarthritis often causes swelling, stiffness and pain; the range of movement will also be reduced; in serious cases, people with the condition may not be able to walk without assistance.

Treating hip osteoarthritis

Treatment for hip osteoarthritis generally targets the symptoms, as there is no cure for the condition. Exercises and specific stretches can often help to improve movement around the joint, while medication can ease pain and reduce swelling. Exercises that may help osteoarthritis of the hip include static cycling, using an exercise bike and water-based therapy which includes doing a number of specially designed exercises in water. Gentle stretching and mild exercises that target increasing the flexibility of the joint will also help. Many experts recommend physiotherapy or osteopathy to help sufferers of osteoarthritis. In extreme cases, surgery may be carried out, which may involve fitting a prosthetic joint; this is common with hip joints in the elderly, but is considered a last resort in most cases.

Preventing osteoarthritis

Generally, the chances of getting osteoarthritis can be reduced by eating healthily and exercising regularly; this will maintain a healthy and stable weight and ensure a good level of general fitness and flexibility as well as keeping the joints loose and the muscles toned.

Find a Sports Injury Clinic

- OR -

Latest Articles