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Hip Health Information

Anatomy and Function of the Hip

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that is the largest weight-bearing joint in the human body. In a healthy hip, the head of the femur (thighbone) forms a ball that fits into the acetabulum, which is a cavity at the bottom of the pelvis that makes the socket.

Ligaments connect the ball to the socket and provide support. A smooth, tough material called articular cartilage covers the femoral head and the acetabulum to cushion the bones and promote ease and range of motion. A layer of fibrous cartilage called the labrum sits on the rim of the acetabulum to deepen the socket and hold the head of the femur firmly in place.

A smooth tissue liner known as the Synovial Membrane covers the other surfaces of the hip joint. It gives off small amounts of fluid to lubricate the joint and reduce the amount of friction from the bones rubbing against each other.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hip

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that involves severe inflammation of the joints. When a patient has rheumatoid arthritis, their immune system — which would normally protect their health by attacking foreign cells like viruses and bacteria — attacks their body’s own tissues and joint membranes. This causes fluid to build up in their joints, which causes extreme pain, tenderness, inflammation, and stiffness.

Causes:

Unfortunately, experts do not yet know the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis, but there is evidence that people might have a genetic predisposition to the disease, which is then triggered by a virus, bacteria, or even by unusually severe stress. RA is more common in women than in men, and its onset frequently occurs in middle age.

Symptoms:

The primary symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain, swelling, joint stiffness, and loss of motion. Patients also report a loss of appetite, fever, energy loss, anemia, and rheumatoid nodules (lumps of tissue under the skin). It’s not uncommon for patients to have less painful or even pain-free days, and then have symptom “flare-ups” for a few days or weeks at a time.

Treatment:

At CORE Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, we recommend the following treatment options for patients with RA:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil
  • Aspirin
  • Analgesics
  • Corticosteroids, like prednisone
  • Injectable biologic drugs
  • Joint fluid therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Total hip replacement

Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It most commonly affects the knees, hands, hips, and spine, and the symptoms include painful and swollen joints. Osteoarthritis of the hip is commonly referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis and is the most common reason for total hip replacements.

Causes:

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time. Many patients want to know why this happens, but the science is not definitive, and research is still being done every day to bring more clarity to the disease. We do know that the degenerative process could be caused by a variety of things, including a previous hip injury or the wearing out of the hip due to activities of daily life. Some experts also point toward genetic predisposition as a factor in the development of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms:

Osteoarthritis causes severe hip pain and swelling/stiffening of the hip joint. It often starts with pain in the hip or groin area during weight-bearing activities like walking, which in turn causes people to limp and further contributes to the hip’s loss of flexibility and strength. As the disease progresses, the pain can become constant and interfere with daily activities, sleep, and quality of life.

Treatment:

In the early stages of osteoarthritis treatment, the doctors at CORE Orthopedics and Sports Medicine focus on conservative measures to help relieve pain and manage joint stress. We often recommend behavioral and lifestyle changes such as weight loss, pain management plans, and physical therapy (to improve joint strength and mobility). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil and Cox-2 inhibitors have also helped many patients immensely.

Sometimes, we’ll recommend more aggressive treatment options, such as injected drugs or joint fluid therapy, to lubricate the hip and reduce the pain and swelling of the joint. In extreme cases, hip replacement surgery may be necessary to improve daily functioning and relieve pain.

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Testimonials

Anthony

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Anthony

Knee surgery Patient of Dr. Daniel Kuesis

Isabella

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Isabella

Knee surgery Patient of Dr. Daniel Kuesis

Julie

Bilateral Hip Patient of Dr. Daniel Kuesis

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