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Winter and arthritis: an overview of hip osteoarthritis

09/02/2022

A blog post by Mr Mandeep Lamba, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon 

Arthritis can affect you throughout the year, but it can be harder to manage your symptoms during the winter months. Mr Mandeep Lamba, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Holly, explains what hip osteoarthritis is and what treatment options are available.

What is hip osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of hip pain. If you have arthritis in your hip, it means that the cartilage (cushioning tissue at the joints) has worn away.

Hip osteoarthritis is a condition that develops over time. It causes the hip joint to become stiff and painful. This can result in difficulty with walking and even a limp, which may get worse after exercise or physical activity.

It is often assumed that hip osteoarthritis only affects older individuals, but this is not true. The condition is mainly linked to the shape and condition of your hip.

What are the treatment options for hip osteoarthritis?

Initial treatment for hip osteoarthritis usually involves:

  • taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines
  • having physiotherapy
  • using a walking aid

Other treatments include a targeted injection of steroid and a local anaesthetic under ultrasound or X-ray guidance. Steroids are anti-inflammatory medicines and a local anaesthetic is a medicine that makes a small area of the body numb. In a few select cases, a hip arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) may be recommended.

If non-surgical treatment options do not relieve your pain, your doctor may recommend a hip replacement. For many patients, a hip replacement is the most effective solution.

How common are hip replacements and what do they involve?

A hip replacement is a common type of surgery and around 80,000 of these operations are performed each year in the UK. The procedure usually takes about one hour. You may have a general anaesthetic, which means that you are asleep during the operation and do not feel any pain. Otherwise, you may have a spinal injection that makes you numb from the waist downwards.

The operation involves making a cut to access and remove your damaged hip joint. This is replaced with an artificial hip joint. The cut is then closed with stitches or skin clips.

What are the benefits of a hip replacement?

A new hip joint can give you pain relief and make it easier to move, exercise and carry out ordinary activities. Overall, the procedure can dramatically improve your quality of life.

If I have a hip replacement, when can I resume normal activities?

Individuals may have different recovery rates based on their age and physical condition. Hospital staff help you to get up and walk as quickly as possible after surgery. Some patients can even walk on the same day as the procedure.

You need to follow a rehabilitation programme and are taught exercises to help strengthen your hip. Generally, you should be able to stop using your crutches within six weeks and perform all your normal activities within three months.

About Mr Mandeep Lamba

To book an appointment with Mr Mandeep Lamba at The Holly Private Hospital, please call 020 3504 8481 or complete this form.

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