Hip Pain And Arthritis: What You Need To Know
Some of you have told us you have pain in your hips. Several issues can cause hip pain, one of which is arthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is wear and tear to bones and joints and is more common and presents at a younger age if:
- You have hip damage from thalidomide. Some of you will have known about this for some time whilst others may only find out when X-rays are taken. Again this causes the hip to wear out earlier.
- You use your legs as an arm. The increased use and range of movement of your legs can also cause the hip joint to wear out earlier.
If the pain lasts longer than a few weeks, and is causing you to stop doing certain things, it will help to pay a visit to your GP and get an understanding of what’s causing the pain.
If your doctor thinks that arthritis is the cause, they may suggest an X-ray to look at the bones in the hip and assess the severity of any arthritis.
What if arthritis is diagnosed?
If arthritis is diagnosed the following may help:
- Having physiotherapy to maintain the movement in your hips through a range of gentle movement exercises and activities.
Your physiotherapist can also suggest specific exercises to maintain or improve the strength of the muscles around the hip joint, and this will help later if you have to have an operation.
They can also advise you on the best way to walk with your hip pain and show you how to use a walking stick, or crutch.To find a physiotherapist, please speak to the Trust or click here https://www.csp.org.uk/public-patient/find-physiotherapist/find-physio
- Pacing your activities during the day to avoid putting too much pressure on your hips. Heat pads and painkillers can also help you manage your pain.To find out more click here
- Losing weight to reduce the extra strain on all your joints and particularly the hip and knee joints.To find out more, click here https://patient.info/health/weight-loss-weight-reduction
- Having steroid injections in your hip if the pain becomes intolerable.
For some, this is a good form of pain relief and may delay any need for surgery. It is difficult to predict how long the injection may last and whether another one may be helpful.To find out more click here https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/injections/what-know-getting-cortisone-injection
- Having a hip replacement.
A hip replacement may be considered if steroid injections are not helping, or not lasting long enough. Hip replacement surgery is now very successful.
It may be helpful to choose a surgeon who is a revision hip specialist - the first hip replacement in someone is fairly straight forward but a hip revision specialist is sufficiently skilled to take a replacement hip out and put another one in.
One of the Trust’s medical advisers can tell you who would be best to see.
Special considerations if you’re using your leg as an arm
If you have shorter upper limbs and use your leg as an arm, the thought of surgery may be quite daunting – but it needn’t be.
To make sure you keep a higher range of movement in your replacement hip it is possible to adjust the new hip and put in a slightly larger ball replacement.
Some surgeons may not have had experience of replacing this kind of hip and may want to seek advice from a consultant who has operated on beneficiaries like you. Consultants at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital have this kind of experience, and you can even choose this hospital to have your surgery in.
How the Trust can help
If you would like to talk through your pain and getting the best help with it, the Trust Medical Advisers will be happy to speak with you.
They can also ask a beneficiary who has had hip surgery to get in touch with you, to give you an idea of what the operation will be like, the things you’ll need to have ready to take to hospital with you and what you’ll need to have in place at home after the operation such as equipment, aids and extra help.
Read Carolyn’s story to find out about her experience.