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Osteoarthritis of the Hip: January 22, 2012

It’s one of the top reasons hips go bad: osteoarthritis. It specifically covers pain due to wear and tear of a joint.

“With osteoarthritis of the hip, because it has so much of a range of motion, one of the first things we see is limitation in motion which makes it difficult to get in and out of a car, up and down from a chair,” says Dr. John Kagan, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Those are the tell tale signs. Oftentimes the condition will present in only one joint, an injury may have made it susceptible to osteoarthritis.

“There may have been some predisposing thing that happened to their hip way, way, way back when, and over a period of time we see that that has changed and caused the injury, that sub sequentially developed into an arthritic condition,” says Dr. Kagan.

First lines of treatment are exercise and therapy. If the condition gets worse or isn’t subsiding, doctors may move to medications, and finally surgery. People with an arthritic hip are more likely to seek treatment early.

“We don’t see this much with knee arthritis, people with hip arthritis generally get worse quicker and want to have something done. People with knee arthritis can tolerate a lot of wear and tear changes in the joints,” says Dr. Kagan.

The ultimate solution is to replace the hip joint.

“We actually remove the joint, that is remove the femoral ball and grind out the worn out socke,t and replace the ball and socket with metal and plastic components,” says Dr. Kagan.

When faced with debilitating osteoarthritis, a hip replacement may decrease pain and improve range of motion. Your doctor can help you decide if it’s the right option for you.