For the early stages of osteoarthritis, the most common treatments are nonsurgical. These include oral medications to reduce or alleviate pain, physical therapy, and activity modification. Corticosteroid injections are also sometimes used. If you have later stages of osteoarthritis and your hip joint hurts when you rest at night or your hip is severely deformed, your doctor may recommend total hip replacement surgery (arthroplasty).
A Answers (2)
Scott Martin, Orthopedic Surgery, answeredThe first line of treatment for mild osteoarthritis of the hip is a combination of over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. Using acetaminophen along with ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) makes it possible to use a lower dose and thus minimize side effects. NSAIDs may be more effective than acetaminophen in treating osteoarthritis because they not only relieve pain but also reduce inflammation that contributes to pain, swelling, and stiffness. Steroid injections are also sometimes used to provide pain relief.
Exercise is important to help keep your hip joint limber and strong. Water exercises are particularly suited for improving the hip's range of motion and promoting strength and flexibility in the muscles surrounding it. For exercise to be effective, you must make an ongoing commitment to exercising several days a week. In studies from the Netherlands, a 12-week supervised exercise program significantly improved pain and function in people with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. The benefits disappeared within nine months for those who did not continue to exercise, however. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about a full program of hip-strengthening exercises.
Resting the hip when you feel pain is also important. A cane or a walking stick held in the hand opposite your bad hip can take pressure off the joint as you walk or do other activities that tend to aggravate the pain. Most people limit stair climbing and cut back on walking longer distances. When bathing, use a shower stool and hand-held nozzle to avoid standing.
Eventually, hip replacement surgery may be necessary. The vast majority of patients who undergo total hip replacement surgery have a principal diagnosis of osteoarthritis.