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When the cartilage in the hip wears away due to arthritis, bone rubs on bone causing the discomfort. The pain, which can be present in one or both hips, can also radiate to the buttocks and knees. The pain develops slowly and worsens over time.
While there are many kinds of arthritis, osteoarthritis, where the joint degrades because of age and use, is the most common form of hip arthritis.
At University of Maryland, our orthopedic hip specialists will evaluate your hip pain and first consider whether more conservative non-surgical options can help. If this is not the right option for you, our orthopedic surgeons can evaluate you for hip replacement surgery.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Hip Arthritis
For patients who have hip arthritis and are not ready to undergo surgery, management consists of physical therapy, pain management techniques, such as corticosteroid injections into the hip, and the use of anti-inflammatory medications.
Physical therapy can strengthen the weakened muscles surrounding an arthritic hip and improve a patient’s ability to manage the pain and dysfunction caused by hip arthritis. Therapy can also sometimes increase the range of motion surrounding the hip. Many patients who have hip pain also have low back pain. Physical therapy is very helpful with low back pain.
Corticosteroid injection involves a radiologist injecting an anti-inflammatory steroid medication directly into the hip joint to help relieve some of the pain caused by hip arthritis. The shots can be repeated every 3 months to make a patient more comfortable.
Anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) and ibuprofen (e.g., Advil), are also very effective at relieving hip pain. Your hip specialist can make specific recommendations for you about using these over-the-counter medicines for hip pain.
Do Non-Operative Arthritis Treatments Work?
These conservative treatments do not treat the underlying problem but help with the inflammation and side effects of arthritis. Their purpose is to limit the patient’s symptoms, not cure arthritis. Unfortunately, conservative treatments for hip arthritis are not nearly as effective as they are for knee arthritis.
Surgical Treatment Options for Hip Arthritis
In more extreme cases when other options have been exhausted, surgery is necessary. Most commonly this is a hip replacement; however, in some cases, hip osteotomy can be effective in preserving and repairing the hip.
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To schedule an appointment with the University of Maryland Orthopaedics Associates, call 410-448-6400.