Hip Arthritis Treatment

Injuries to the hip can be caused by degenerative disease such as arthritis, traumatic injuries and sports injuries. These conditions may affect the bones & joints and impair your mobility.

Non-operative options are aimed at providing symptomatic relief and improving your quality of life. They can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with surgery.

No Gap Billing

Dr Rimmer offers no gap orthopaedic surgery to all his patients with private health insurance. This ensures great value and savings to patients who pay a substantial amount to insure themselves and their families.

If you have severe arthritis of the hip causing pain and limitation of your activities and lifestyle and it has not responded to conservative treatments you may be a candidate for total hip replacement.

What is the anatomy of the hip?

The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the body. The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint. The head of the thigh bone makes up the ball portion and the “socket” is made up by the cup shaped acetabulum of the pelvic bone.

A smooth articular cartilage covers the bone ends to allow pain free motion in the joint. Normally, the hip joint allows movements such as flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal and external rotation including circumduction.

Because the hip joint is a weight-bearing joint, it is not only prone to damage by wear and tear but also sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, degenerative disease or major falls.

Hip pain is usually felt in the groin region but can also be experienced in front of the thigh, the knee and buttocks. It is essential for the exact cause of pain to be assessed so that it can be treated accordingly.

What is hip arthritis?

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage). In a person with osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and worn out causing pain, swelling, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected joint. Although osteoarthritis may affect various joints including hips, knees, hands, and spine, the hip joint is most commonly affected.

What are the causes of hip injuries?

A tear in the muscle fibres caused by either a fall or direct blow to the muscle, overstretching and overuse injury is called a strain. Muscle strains often occur in the hip region whenever a muscle contracts all of a sudden from its stretched position. It can be mild, moderate or severe and depends on the level of injury.

What investigations are used in the diagnosis of hip pain?

  • Imaging tests:
    X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans can determine the extent of bone damage and if the disease has spread to the surrounding tissues.
  • Bone scan:
    A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and collects in the bone. A special camera takes pictures of the affected areas of bone.
  • Biopsy:
    A tissue sample is removed and sent for microscopic examination to rule out the presence of cancer cells in the bone.

Treating hip pain with medications

Medications used in the management of hip pain and arthritis include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Weak and strong opioids
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and biological agents

Treating hip pain without surgery

Before considering surgery, patients can trial lifestyle modifications and rehab programs.

  • Weight reduction
  • Physical exercise
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Thermotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy

Hip surgery options

Patient-specific hip replacement surgery is indicated to treat inflammatory and non-inflammatory degenerative joint diseases, and restore your mobility and regular activities. Indications for surgery include:

  • Pain while bearing on the affected hip
  • Radiating pain in the groin, lower back and thighs
  • Stiffness in the hip while walking
  • Inadequate or no response to non-surgical treatment and medications
If you or someone you know is considering a no gap hip injury, book an appointment with Dr Rimmer to have your situation properly assessed and managed.