What is Hip Osteoarthritis?
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint composed of two bones: the ball (femur) and the socket (pelvis). The ends of each of these bones is covered by a smooth Teflon-like layer of tissue called articular cartilage. This layer allows these bones to glide smoothly over each other during hip motion.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when this articular cartilage gradually wears away and the joint space narrows and becomes irregular. In addition to the loss of cartilage that occurs in arthritis, bone spurs often develop in the bones of the hip joint.
Treatments for Hip Osteoarthritis
Treatment for osteoarthritis of the hip depends upon the severity of the arthritis and the patients symptoms. Initially non-surgical treatment methods are recommended; options include: activity modifications, weight loss for patients who are overweight, use of assistive devices (such as a cane or a walker), nutritional supplements (such as glucosamine and chondroitin), and medications (such as Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications). If these options fail to control the symptoms, steroid (cortisone) injections into the hip may be attempted. If these injections are unsuccessful, hip replacement surgery may be recommended. In this surgery, the arthritic ends of the bones are cut away and replaced by metal and plastic components.