Information for Patients

Information for patients photo

THE HIP

 

1 ARTHRITIS

 

The majority of patients coming to see me will have established arthritis in their hip joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis.

 

Osteoarthritis occurs as the cartilage within a joint wears out. It is estimated that 1 in 8 people between the ages of 18 and 79 will develop osteoarthritis. Just as other parts of the body wear out, this is true of articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is the shock absorber that covers the ends of a bone in the joint. As the cartilage wears out areas of bone are exposed and the bone rubbing against bone causes pain. It can affect all joints but hip joints are commonly affected and often are very symptomatic because they are large weight bearing joints.

 

The symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in the joint. I believe it is the pain that is the most important factor in dictating treatment and I regard the pain as severe when it is waking you at night, is uncontrolled by analgesia and is preventing you either working or carrying out your hobbies. A joint suffering with osteoarthritis will usually be swollen. The diagnosis will be confirmed with an X-ray. Non surgical treatment of osteoarthritis includes weight loss, regular exercise and analgesia. Analgesia can be provided in the form of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent and Codeine and Paracetamol derivatives. Your General Practitioner will give you advice about this.

Diagram of joint

The other type of arthritis that can lead to joints being replaced is an inflammatory arthritis, the most common being rheumatoid arthritis. This is often a disease which affects many joints but usually will be symmetrical, affecting the same joints on both sides of the body. It may also affect other systems of the body, including the heart, lungs and eyes. With an inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, not only is there pain and stiffness in the joint but there is often considerable swelling of the joint and surrounding structures and symptoms may include more general problems such as fatigue and weakness. The diagnosis of joint disease will be made on X-ray but the disease can be further investigated with blood tests which may show factors in the blood confirming the diagnosis of an inflammatory arthritis.

 

The symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in the joint. I believe it is the pain that is the most important factor in dictating treatment and I regard the pain as severe when it is waking you at night, is uncontrolled by analgesia and is preventing you either working or carrying out your hobbies. A joint suffering with osteoarthritis will usually be swollen. The diagnosis will be confirmed with an X-ray.

Non surgical treatment of osteoarthritis includes weight loss, regular exercise and analgesia. Analgesia can be provided in the form of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent or Codeine and Paracetamol derivites.  Your General Practitioner will give you advice about this and may use a combination of analgesic agents.