Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis is interesting because the pain may be felt in the hip joint or in the thigh, groin, or low back. OA of the hip has the same causes of OA elsewhere in the body: cartilage breakdown around the joint causes destruction of the joint itself and deformity of the bones.

The hip joint is a major weight bearing joint and destruction here can lead to major problems. First there's the same issue you find with knees: walking. Patients with hip arthritis often complain of pain when walking, and may need to eventually use a cane or a walker.

If the deformity gets bad enough there's the risk of a hip fracture. Estimates figure that less than half the people who have a hip fracture ever get back the same quality of life as before the fracture. The other problem is that hip fractures are known for serious complications, some of which are life threatening. The recovery from hip fractures means a lot of time in bed, which can lead to blood clots in the legs, which can dislodge and travel to the lungs.


> Pain while standing or with activity.

> Limited range of motion.

> Pain in the joint while lying in bed on your side.

> Walking with a limp.

Natural Treatment Options

Like the knees, the hips take the brunt of your weight when you're standing. If you are overweight losing weight is the single easiest thing you can do to relieve the pain. Activity modification may be important and learning how to properly use a cane or a walker can help during flare-ups.

If you do need to use a walker, make sure it's set to the proper height to avoid causing additional back pain. You can download walker height instructions by clicking here (thanks to the Canadian Red Cross!). Arthritis of the hip responds very well to water exercises, and many YMCA's offer aquatic classes all year long. Physical therapy is another good option, as making the muscles around the hip strong can take some of the burden off the joint.

Joint supplements like glucosamine and hyaluronic acid are also good options for the pain and to slow down the destruction of the joint.

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