Hip Osteoarthritis

What is Hip Osteoarthritis and what happens to cause this issue?

Arthritis is a type of joint inflammation. It causes pain and swelling, most commonly in the body’s joints. Osteoarthritis, which is a type of joint disease is more likely to develop with age. Osteoarthritis occurs when an injury to a joint causes the cartilage tissue to break down. Cartilage is a firm, rubber like material that covers the ends of bones in normal joints, and is primarily made up of water and different protein structures. It’s main purpose is to reduce friction in the joints and serve as a type of impact absorber, much like shocks in vehicles. The shock-absorbing nature of cartilage stems from its ability to mold into different shapes when compressed. This is possible do its high water content, and although cartilage may try to repair itself when damaged, the body does not create new cartilage to replace what has been damaged. Osteoarthritis usually occurs slowly over many years and can be caused by multiple factors such as, the joints not having formed properly, genetically transmitted abnormalities within the cartilage, or putting stress on joints, such as being overweight or through other strenuous activities.

What does a typical treatment look like?

The main goal of when treating osteoarthritis of the hip area is to improve mobility and overall quality of life. This goal involves improving the function of the hip, as well as minimizing pain. There are many treatment plans available and can include rest and joint care, use of a support to take weight off the affected hip, exercise and losing excess weight. Other options include nondrug pain relief techniques to control pain, medications, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Advil), or a prescription pain medication, replacement surgery, and alternative therapies. Changes to lifestyle in combination with treatments is key to managing pain and disability, but your own outlook on life is a major component to treatment. The ability to cope despite pain and disability brought on by this type of osteoarthritis very often determines how intensely it will affect your everyday life.

Is there a recovery time before it’s gone or does it have lingering effects?

After surgery a patient will need walking aids, and after a short time will be able walk around the house without pain. An increase in the distance from walking around the house without pain or resting is an important step in what is considered short-term recovery. The average short-term recovery time for a total hip replacement is 4 to 6 weeks. Exercise can increase overall endurance and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint, making it more stable. If you feel new joint pain, stop any exercise immediately. New pain that lasts for multiple hours after exercise means you’ve overworked it but that doesn’t mean the damage is permanent or that you should stop exercising all-together. Wait a day or two and begin again at a slightly lower level of intensity.

What are the orthopedic consequences of not treating it?

Not treating Hip Osteoarthritis can result in pain and the degradation of motor functions. There are many options available for treatment and it should be considered for personal well-being.

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