The hip is a ball and socket joint that not only provides a significant range of motion, but also bears a lot of the body’s weight. As such, it is prone to injury and degeneration as we grow older. Over time, the damage may become so great that it will require the total replacement of the joint.
While there have been significant advances in hip replacement, this is still a major surgery that has risks and complications. Here are the best ways to avoid needing a replacement for your hip in the future.
1. Weight Loss
The hip joints are constantly under pressure from supporting our body weight. This pressure is significant: 10 pounds over the normal weight can exert 30 to 60 pounds on the hip with every step. This leads to the progressive damage of the joint, causing degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. A healthy diet and exercise plan may be the simplest way to avoid surgery later on.
2. Strengthen Your Joints
You can increase the stability of your knees by strengthening the muscles that support the joints. Building joint strength is done through physical activites such as swimming, cycling, etc.
Physical therapy may also be initiated to strenghthen the muscles around the joints. This may take pressure off of an arthritic joint and lessen pain.
Over the counter medications such as Tylenol or NSAIDS may provide exceptional pain relief for mild to moderate arthritis pain in the hip. For pain that is more severe, a short term course of opiates can help.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring lubricant for the joints that also regulates inflammation and provides a cushion between the cartilages. This has been associated with decreased pain and improved function, and can be helpful in preventing the need for surgery.
Steroid injections work very well for hip arthritis and should be administered with image guidance for the most accuracy. They may provide weeks to months of pain relief at a time, and can then be repeated.
5. Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) injection
An innovative treatment that has gained popularity because of its use by athletes such as Kobe Bryant is the injection of platelet-rich plasma. This preparation contains up to five times more platelets and growth factors than normal blood. This is drawn from the patient and processed for injection to the injured site.
If all of these treatments fail, a total hip replacement may be performed as a quality of life procedure. Hip arthroplasty has been shown in numerous studies to be an extremely successful procedure for over 90% of patients. As a hip surgeon Los Angeles trusts and respects, Dr. Raj has performed hundreds of hip replacements.