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Arthritis: Osteoarthritis of the hip

Osteoarthritis involves breakdown of cartilage that surrounds and protects the ends of the bones in the hip joints. The cartilage surrounding the joints function as a shock absorber but also prevents the bones from compressing other bones and triggering pain.

This is considered as the most prevalent form of arthritis. Aside from the hip, osteoarthritis can also affect the hands, knees and other weight-bearing joints. The symptoms usually manifest before 45 years old in men and after 55 years old in women, but it is quite common among those over 65 years old.

Possible causes of pain

Osteoarthritis is trigger by both primary and secondary factors. When it comes to primary osteoarthritis, it is connected to old age once the cartilage starts to degenerate due to wear and tear of the joint. As for secondary osteoarthritis, it is caused by physical factors such as obesity and congenital defects.

Osteoarthritis of the hip
The indicative symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hip include pain in the thigh and groin.

Characteristic of osteoarthritis

The indicative symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hip include pain in the thigh and groin. Oftentimes, the pain can occur in the knee. The pain varies on a case to case basis depending on the condition. Some experience intense pain while others only have mild symptoms.

As a progressive disease that worsens over time, some individuals with osteoarthritis develop other symptoms such as stiffness, loss of movement, swelling and snapping of the hip. In addition, bone spurs can develop and one leg might appear shorter than the other. In case any of these symptoms develop, it is vital to consult a doctor for further assessment and start the appropriate treatment.

Benefits of treatment

Even though there is no cure for osteoarthritis of the hip, there are available treatment options to minimize the pain and lessen the long-term effects of the disease. Understandably, the treatment depends on the overall condition of the individual and prognosis. In severe cases, hip replacement surgery might be required to minimize the pain and improve mobility.

The doctor will perform a physical exam in order to diagnose the condition and provide suitable recommendations in managing osteoarthritis of the hip. An X-ray, blood test or aspiration of fluid from the joint might be performed to confirm a diagnosis.

Various medications for pain management are given based on the treatment plan of the individual such as aspirin, anti-rheumatoid drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the pain and swelling.

Risk factors

The risk factors for osteoarthritis of the hip are based on the medical condition of the individual as well as the presence of other health conditions such as dislocated hip, bow legs, overuse and genetic defects affecting the cartilage, gout, diabetes or other hormonal disorders.

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