Hip Pain

Osteoarthritis of the hip

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects us all to a greater or lesser extent and arises from wear of the cartilage on the joint surfaces. This is often associated with pain, swelling and stiffness. However the hip joint is deep and swelling is rarely visible.

What are the causes?

  • This is often a natural process that appears with increasing age
  • Significant trauma to the area or obesity increases the risk of OA at an earlier age.
  • Weakness in your muscles and excessive movement in a joint may also increase the wear on the cartilage.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Pain and stiffness around the hip and groin which is usually worse in the mornings or after prolonged periods of rest but tends to ease with moving around. The pain may spread down to the thigh and sometimes the buttock.
  • Pain on walking, prolonged standing or getting in and out of the car.
  • In severe cases there may be pain at rest and it may disturb sleep.

How do I manage this problem?

  • Your GP may prescribe analgesics and/or anti-inflammatory tablets
  • It is good to keep your hip moving within comfortable limits. Hip and groin stretches can help reduce the tightness in the muscles around the joint.
  • Strengthening exercises can improve the stability of the joint and be helpful in reducing the rate of further degenerative changes.
  • Keeping your weight under control

What other treatments are available?

  • If the pain is severe and debilitating, a local steroid injection in to the hip joint can help reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • In advanced cases of osteoarthritis an surgical opinion may be recommended.

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