There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are many treatment options available both conservative and surgical to help you with managing your symptoms and progression of the condition. Overall, the main aims of treatment for hip osteoarthritis are to reduce pain and increase the function of the hip joint.
Conservative treatment includes:
Osteopathy and Physiotherapy. The aims of osteopathic and physiotherapy treatment are to improve strength and mobility, increase joint range of motion, reduce pain and restore normal function and movement of the joints of the lower extremity including the hip, knee, ankle and foot. Treatment will also include the use of a patient specific exercise programme to help improve function and reduce pain.
Medication. Your doctor may advise or prescribe you certain medication to help with relieving the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Common medications prescribed include:
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs – known also as NSAIDS. This group of drugs are used to help with reducing inflammation and pain. Ibuprofen can be bought over the counter. Stronger NSAIDS can be prescribed by your doctor. Due to the fact NSAIDS can upset your stomach lining, they are not recommended for taking for long periods of time. Therefore, your doctor may also prescribe another medication alongside the NSAID to help protect your stomach.
Analgesics – these types of medication are also known as painkillers and do as the name suggests, reduce pain. Over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol can be used without prescription. Stronger painkillers and opioids are always prescribed by your doctor. It is always recommended to seek advice from your doctor before starting a new medication.
Cortisone Injections- If your hip joint is particularly aggravating and swollen and NSAIDS are not helping with reducing the swelling a cortisone injection may be advised. Corticosteroid injection is a strong antiinflammatory drug which is injected directly into the painful joint.
Surgical Treatment includes:
Surgical treatment is usually recommended when conservative treatment has not been effective in reducing pain and stiffness. Below are a few examples of the common types of surgery used to treat hip osteoarthritis. If surgery has been recommended to you, your orthopedic surgeon will discuss with you the surgical options available to you and the risk and benefits of each procedure.
Total hip replacement – this is when the acetabulum and the head of the femur is removed and replaced with new parts made out of ceramic, metal or plastic. This type of surgery will be followed by physiotherapy treatment and exercise rehabilitation to help you get used to your new hip.
Hip Resurfacing – during this procedure the damaged cartilage on the acetabulum is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The head of the femur is then also capped with a metal covering to help with the smooth and flowing movement of the hip joint.
Osteotomy- This type of surgery is less common in the treatment of hip osteoarthritis. During this procedure either the head of the femur or the acetabulum is cut and realigned to reduce the pressure on the hip joint.