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What is Hip Arthritis?

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  • Written By: M. DePietro
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2016
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Arthritis is a disease which causes inflammation in the joints. One or more joints in the body may be affected. Hip arthritis is inflammation of the hip joint. The hip joint connects the pelvic bones to the thigh. The most common type of hip arthritis is osteoarthritis.

Wear and tear on the joint seems to be the cause. The reason hip arthritis affects some people and not others is not exactly clear. However, certain risk factors have been associated with developing arthritis. For instance, individuals who have other diseases, such as lupus, may be at risk for developing hip arthritis. Being overweight may also be a factor in developing the condition. Although it can occur at any age, hip arthritis usually develops in the sixth and seventh decade of life.

The main symptom of hip arthritis is pain. The pain may not only be in the hip, but it may radiate down into the front of the thigh. Pain may be present only during activities, such as walking, or it may occur all the time. Range of motion may also be affected.

A diagnosis is usually made after a physical exam and possibly x-rays. The doctor will determine the range of motion and look for signs of stiffness and ask about pain. An early diagnosis is important, because it may allow treatment to start and slow down the progression of the condition.

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Treatment will depend on how severe the arthritis is and how it is impacting lifestyle. Mild cases of hip arthritis may be treated by nutritional supplements, lifestyle changes and physical therapy. Individuals who are overweight may be advised to lose weight. People who may be overusing the hip joint during exercise or sports, may be advised to change activities.

Nutritional supplements may help in some cases. Glucosamine and chondroitin are both supplements, which are believed to help slow the damage to the joints and possibility promote new cartilage development. Before you start taking supplements, it is always best to consult your doctor.

Medication may also help reduce pain associated with arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen may help. If over the counter medications don’t help, stronger pain and anti-inflammatory medication may need to be prescribed by a physician.

If other forms of treatment do not work, and symptoms are severe enough, hip replacement surgery may be required. There are two types of hip replacement surgeries, including a partial replacement and a full replacement. A full hip replacement may be needed if damage to the hip joint is extensive.

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