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Winter and arthritis: an overview about hip osteoarthritis

The winter months are here – and that can be bad news for people with arthritis, many of whom can literally feel the season in their bones. But what is hip osteoarthritis and what treatment options are available for the condition?

Mr Mandeep Lamba, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Holly, explains.

What is hip osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of hip pain. When you have arthritis in your hip, it essentially means the cartilage in the hip has worn away. A condition that develops over time, hip osteoarthritis causes the hip joint to become stiff and painful, which can result in difficulty walking and even a limp which can get worse after exercise or physical activity.

It’s often assumed that arthritis only affects older individuals, but this isn’t true. You could reach the age of 100 without having hip osteoarthritis – the condition is mostly related to the shape and condition of your hip.

What are the treatment options?

Initial treatment usually involves having painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, physiotherapy and the use of a walking aid. Other treatments include a targeted injection of steroid and a local anaesthetic under ultrasound or x-ray guidance. In a few select cases a hip arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) may be recommended.

If a patient exhausts these treatment options and still experiences pain, a hip replacement may be recommended. For many patients, a replacement is the most effective solution.

How common are hip replacements and what does surgery involve? 

A hip replacement is a common type of surgery with approximately 80,000 operations performed each year in the UK. The surgery usually takes one hour to perform. You may have a general anaesthetic where you will be unconscious or a spinal injection that will make you numb from the waist down.

The operation involves making an incision to access and remove your damaged hip joint, which is replaced with an artificial hip joint. This is then closed with stiches or skin clips.

What are the benefits?

A new hip joint can provide pain relief, improved functionality and the ability to undertake ordinary activities and exercise. Overall, the procedure dramatically improves a patient’s quality of life.

How soon will I be able to resume normal activities? 

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

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

About Mandeep Lamba

Mandeep Lamba has clinics at The Holly Private Hospital every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and alternate Mondays and Tuesdays. To book an appointment call 020 3925 1323

Date: 20/12/2020