The most common type of arthritis to affect the hip is osteoarthritis. This condition is thought to affect 11% of the population in the UK of people over the age of 45 year (Arthritis Research UK). This condition is a chronic irreversible disease that is often hereditary. It usually presents with pain and stiffness in the groin. The pain can be felt in the groin, the buttock or down the thigh. You can have osteoarthritis in the hip for many years before it causes you pain and in these cases stiffness is often the first thing you will notice. Difficulty crossing your legs, putting on your shoes and socks on in the morning and difficulty getting in an out of the car are often the most common complaints with this condition.
The disease affects the lubricating cartilage that lines the joint and in time it wears away leading to a degenerate joint. This is an irreversible step and as yet science has not allowed us to put the cartilage back. Progression of the disease can be slowed by watching your weight (keeping as close as possible to your normal body mass index – BMI) and performing gentle, regular exercise which help avoids the stiffness.
When the disease becomes advanced and the pain and stiffness worsens hip replacement may be indicated. Diagnosis of arthritis is made with a simple X-ray, this can be arranged by your GP or another health professional.
For more information please visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org