Hip Arthritis

What is it?

This is wear and tear disease of the cartilage in your hip joint.

What is the cause of Hip Arthritis?

Poor alignment of your body combined with the natural process of aging will cause the cartilage in your hip socket wear out.

The hip is a major weight bearing joint of your body. All the weight of your head, neck, trunk and arms is distributed to your hip sockets. All the support for the hip comes from the ground up via the feet, ankles, knees and legs. Thus the alignment and coordination of the feet, ankles, knees and their muscles is critical to support of the hips.

Take a good look at yourself, your family and your friends. You will notice that it is common for people to walk with their feet turned out or in or with one hip higher than the other. Bowed legs and knock knees are common as is unevenness in the height of the shoulders. These imbalances are partly due to genetics but also occur due to the way we habitually use our body. These signs and many more are indications that the body weight is not being distributed to the hips in the most efficient fashion. When this happens, the hip joint cartilage begins to wear out.

Besides the aforementioned structural problems and the aging process trauma (falls, sports and other injuries) can contribute to hip arthritis.

What are the symptoms of hip arthritis?

The symptoms involve pain in the hip and especially the groin area. Stiffness is very common as well. Often after a person with this problem sits for a while they will get up with a very stiff and painful walk. Limping is very common after sitting for a while and in the advance stages it occurs with every step.

How do we diagnosis this condition?

The range of movement of your hip joint is characteristically decreased in certain directions with hip arthritis, x-rays of the hip are very helpful in the diagnosis and blood tests assist in the diagnosis. These are some of the criteria used by the American College of Rheumatology. Also, the total posture of your body is assessed so that we can find all the contributing factors. We want to know why your cartilage is wearing out.

Hip Replacement Surgery

One of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed today is hip replacement surgery (hip arthrodesis). Sadly, in many cases, surgery could have been prevented if proper measures were taken in advance. With the aging of the baby boomer population this is sure to become an immensely common procedure. People in their 50's, 60's and 70's will get this surgery. But the problem is not just a result of aging- please see below.

What we do for Hip Arthritis?

  1. Joint alignment exercises and therapy for the hip joint socket and hip muscles are used. Dr. Schwartz designs the program for you based on your unique body structure, fitness and medical history.
  2. Therapy and exercises for all the joints and muscles that support the hip can be given to relieve the strain upon the hip joint itself. This is very important because the feet, ankle and knees are very important in supporting the hip.
  3. Sometimes shoe insoles, heel lifts or orthotics are given to support the person from the ground up.
  4. Nutritional supplementation is very important here. Dr. Schwartz uses a wide range vitamin, mineral, herbal and other nutrients to help stop the degeneration of your hip cartilage.
  5. Ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, massage and moist heat help relieve pain. 

You need to have all these therapies working for you simultaneously. Hip arthritis is a difficult problem to treat, but in our experience surgery can be delayed and even avoided with proper early intervention.

This is a project that involves dedication on your part; Depending on the severity of your problem resolution of your symptoms can take weeks or months. Beyond that it will necessary for you to dedicate yourself to regular exercise program as outlined for you by Dr. Schwartz. Do not begin an exercise program for this problem without expert consultation first, because the exercises you choose may actually be worsening your problem.

Lastly it is important to realize that for many arthritic conditions the causative factors can actually be traced back to very early in life. During childhood and adolescence it is important to get your children checked for postural and movement problems that will manifest as pain when they get older. Again, feet turning in and out, bow legs and knock knees and unevenness of the hips and shoulders are common signs that there is an imbalance that needs correcting. Remember: "As the twig is bent so grows the tree." So get your children checked, they will thank you later.