Non-Operative Management of Hip and Knee Arthritis

Studies show that one in four people will develop hip arthritis over the course of their adult life. Many factors play a role in the onset of hip arthritis, including genetics, advancing age, gender, excessive weight, losses in bone density, previous repetitive use or traumatic hip injury, muscle weakness, and joint laxity. Although joint replacement is called for in the most severe cases, hip arthritis treatment includes non-surgical options as well.

Hip arthritis is, by definition, a wearing away of cartilage between the bones that form the hip joint. Cartilage is the amazing material that lines and lubricates our human joints. Because cartilage is smoother than any man-made bearing and has no nerve endings, healthy joints with intact cartilage move easily and without pain.

However, in an arthritic joint where the cartilage has worn away, the underlying bone—which does have nerve endings—is exposed. Any movement that causes the joint’s bones to brush against one another produces significant pain. It also generates debris, which causes an inflammatory response that accelerates the destruction of the joint.

At WarWick, we always treat hip arthritis with conservative measures prior to recommending surgery. Our goal is to control cartilage loss and its associated discomfort by reducing stressors on the hip joint. Recommended treatments include:

  • weight loss
  • the use of walking aids
  • heat therapy
  • activity modifications
  • oral medications
  • physical therapy
  • injections

While these treatment options won’t alter or reverse the underlying condition of the impaired joint, they can help alleviate the symptoms associated with hip pain and help you postpone more dramatic interventions, such as joint replacement surgery.

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