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Could Arthritis Of The Hips Be The Hidden Cause Of Your Problems?

Could you have arthritis in your hips and not realize it? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are more than 54 million adults in the United States who already have some form of arthritis. By 2040, it's estimated that number will climb to 78 million adults, thanks to the fact that people are generally living longer and remaining more active. Arthritis in the hips, however, can sharply limit your mobility and cause a lot of unnecessary pain.

Why does arthritis affect the hips so often?

It's not uncommon for arthritis to affect the hips simply because the human hip is a ball-and-socket joint. That joint is covered by a type of smooth cartilage that helps the bones glide back and forth without friction. Any type of damage to the ball-and-socket or the cartilage covering it -- whether from disease or trauma -- can result in limited mobility and pain. The aging process, plus normal "wear-and-tear" on the joints tends to inflict a lot of trauma on the hips.

There are also three common types of arthritis that tend to settle into the hip joints and cause problems with mobility:

  • Osteoarthritis -- This is incredibly common in older adults. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage that protects the hip joint and can leave the bones grinding on each other every time you take a step. It's particularly common in women, people of Caucasian descent, people over the age of 50, and those who have experienced some form of injury to their hips (like in a fall).
  • Psoriatic arthritis -- Many people wrongly assume that the psoriasis of the skin is the hardest thing to deal with when someone suffers from psoriatic arthritis. In fact, the disease often attacks the joints, including the hips. Swelling, stiffness, and pain are common.
  • Inflammatory arthritis -- This includes several different chronic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). These autoimmune conditions can attack both the hip joints and the cartilage around them.

How can you tell if you might have arthritis in your hips?

Hip arthritis can actually come on very quickly. You can be perfectly fine one month and suddenly start having mobility issues almost overnight -- then rapidly go downhill. Some common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty putting on your socks and shoes (with or without pain)
  • Pain that seems worse in the morning and decreases somewhat as you move around
  • Pain in your legs, groin, or outer thigh that flares up after increased activity
  • Difficulty getting in and out of a car, or in and out of a low chair
  • Problems getting up from a seated position on the ground or after kneeling
  • Grinding, popping, or clicking sounds when you walk, especially when going up or down steps

The more symptoms you have, the more likely that you have a problem in your hips that needs to be addressed.

What can you do if you suspect a problem?

Fortunately, there are numerous effective treatments for hip arthritis these days. Medication can help for mild cases. For people who are experiencing serious mobility issues or who fail to respond to medication, however, an orthopedic surgeon should be consulted. Hip replacement surgery is an effective end to the pain and problems associated with hip arthritis and can often restore lost mobility.

Get in touch with a company like Orthopaedic Associates Of Rochester for more information.