What is hip osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis of the hip is a pathology that covers a large number of people around the world. Its incidence in the population varies enormously according to race. It is much more frequent in the white race compared to the Asian race, oscillating in our western world according to countries between 3% and 6% of the population. In the United States alone there are 30 million people who suffer from it. To get an idea of ​​the health cost that this represents in this country we will say that this pathology represents a figure of 557,000 surgical operations per year. In Spain will be about two million people who will suffer throughout his life problems related to the hip. According to the data offered by the administration, the total number of hip prosthesis interventions, either partial or total and revision, varies from one country to another in the OECD from 60 to 200 per 100,000 inhabitants / year at the end of the year. ninety. All this indicates the importance and dimension of this pathology.
Like other joints of the human body that support weight, the hips are at risk of suffering from osteoarthritis, that is to say, a wear of the portion responsible for giving a correct sliding and cushioning between the head of the femur and the dome of the coxal bone that receives it, is say the acetabulum. This tapestry responsible for providing this function is known as “articular cartilage”.

The articular cartilage covers the femoral head and the acetabulum facilitating the movement of all the joint, but if it is worn it causes a series of symptoms. The first sign may be discomfort and stiffness in the groin on waking, when getting up from a chair after a more or less prolonged time or when leaving a car or even when sitting for some time. The pain will increase with movement and will improve with rest. It is very typical, for example, the appearance of pain and difficulty when putting on shoes.

If this condition is not treated in time, the condition worsens until not even rest relieves the pain. Each time the hip is losing more and more mobility and may even appear pain in the lumbar spine, in an unconscious attempt of the individual to compensate for his limitations of hip movement with greater movement of the spine. At the end of this process of wear the bones rub against each other, causing severe pain when attempting any movement. A limp appears increasingly pronounced at the expense of the hip and, what is worse, the muscles weaken.

The risks of developing osteoarthritis of the hip increase if there are already antecedents in the family of having suffered it and especially as a result of certain congenital deformities, some of which are known as “dysplasias”. Also other diseases that appear in childhood and in the adult, which affect both the quality of the joint and its future shape can produce hip arthrosis over the years. It is also obvious that obesity, previous accidents and old age (there is an easy rule to remember and is that at 80 years of age 80% of people have more or less signs of osteoarthritis of the hip), are other factors of great importance. Even so it is not necessary to suffer any of these conditions for a person to suffer from hip osteoarthritis. It is what is known as idiopathic osteoarthritis.

Treatment of hip osteoarthritis of the young adult

When hip osteoarthritis is fully established in a young adult, it should not be a condemnation to renounce a full quality of life, including physical and sports practice. Modern developments of the nineties of prosthetic implants that only cover the joint surfaces have provided an unprecedented success in the arthrosis surgery of the population of this age. In Spain, the IUD has been a pioneer center in this treatment. It is known as “surface prosthesis” (in English it is known as hip resurfacing). This prosthesis avoids cutting the femoral neck and only adapting the femoral head by covering it with a metal cover that in turn is articulated with a metal dome in the acetabulum. Its durability is very high, over 95% at 10 years. Our service is the university hospital with the most experience in the implantation of surface prostheses in Spain, with almost 1000 prostheses implanted., The third center in Europe by number of surface prostheses implanted. On the other hand we must know that in the life of the young adult this prosthesis never closes the doors to the implantation of a total hip prosthesis in the future if it were necessary.

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