Osteoarthritis & Hip Pain: Do I Need Surgery?
Osteoarthritis is a very common cause of hip pain and discomfort. There seems to be a lot of confusion about proper treatment of arthritis in the hip joint. I receive many questions from patients at my clinics about this topic. Let’s go into further detail about osteoarthritis and whether or not total hip replacement surgery is necessary.
The most common questions about osteoarthritis that I receive are:
1. Why did I develop osteoarthritis?
2. How do you treat osteoarthritis?
3. Do I need surgery for my osteoarthritis?
4. Can I live an active life with osteoarthritis?
5. Will my osteoarthritis become debilitating over time?
Why Do I Have Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that can impact any joint in your body, but the hips tend to be particularly troublesome. Osteoarthritis can be caused by any number of factors, but aging and trauma tend to be the two most common. As osteoarthritis progresses, the cartilage that cushions your joint bones breaks down and this bone-on-bone friction will cause pain and stiffness.
How Do You Treat Osteoarthritis?
Surgery isn’t the only option for treating osteoarthritis. Before considering surgery, I recommend looking at less invasive treatment options, such as lifestyle modifications, exercise programs, and pain management techniques. Only after you’ve explored these options would I recommend discussing hip replacement surgery as an option.
Do I Need Surgery for Osteoarthritis?
Hip replacement surgery is usually done after all other treatment options for osteoarthritis have failed. Many patients who are suffering with hip pain due to osteoarthritis will respond to lifestyle modifications and will not require surgery. However, if your pain does not respond or improve with lifestyle modifications and you believe your quality of life is poor, then hip replacement surgery is an option. Hip surgery can relieve a painful joint and make it easier to handle everyday activities, such as walking and climbing stairs.
Does Osteoarthritis Get Worse Over Time?
The short answer is yes. If left untreated, the symptoms of osteoarthritis will usually worsen over time and joints may stiffen to the point where basic activities cause you incredible pain. How quickly this process evolves depends on a number of factors, but it’s important to understand that osteoarthritis is a slow and progressive disease. I don’t recommend that patients consider surgery now to prevent osteoarthritis from worsening in the future. Non-invasive treatment options should always be used as a first line of defense in the treatment of hip pain.
If you find that your osteoarthritis is not responding to first-line treatments, such as pain management, lifestyle modifications, or stretching, make sure your surgeon is fellowship trained and capable of performing the anterior approach for total hip replacement. Anterior hip surgery uses a minimal incision, creating less damage to the soft tissue around the hip and decreasing post-operative recovery time.
We welcome patients to Shasta Orthopaedics in Redding from around the world. Feel free to reach out if you would like to discuss your hip pain in person.
Dr. Troy A. Miles, MD – Redding, CA
1255 Liberty Street
Redding, CA 96001
Phone: (530) 246-2467