What is it?
When the cartilage covering the ends of the bones that make up the hip joint becomes damaged and worn (thinned) the condition of wear or degeneration has started and is called early arthritis. This can be seen as narrowing of the joint on x-rays.
What symptoms does early hip arthritis cause?
Patients describe pain in the hip that they feel in the groin. There is often a bit of stiffness of the hip which makes putting on socks and shoes a little more difficult, but this is not always noticed in early hip arthritis.
What can be done to treat early hip arthritis?
In early arthritis, the focus of treatment is to relieve pain and to try to prevent progression of the disease to more severe arthritis which would require joint replacement. This is called joint preservation.
Treatment options include physiotherapy with muscle strengthening, simple painkillers, viscosupplementation (“shock-absorbing”) gel injections into the joint, PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections and in some cases, key-hole surgery of the hip to deal with any underlying cartilage tears.