Hyaline cartilage is the slick, translucent tissue that lines joint surfaces and allows for the smooth movement of joints in the body, including the hip. If the structure or health of this cartilage is compromised, it can gradually wear away, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and disability. Eventually, the hip osteoarthritis patient may have no choice but to accept a dramatically reduced lifestyle or undergo total hip arthroplasty. Is it possible to prevent osteoarthritis of the hip or at least slow its progression?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a firm yes or no. There appears to be a genetic component to osteoarthritis risk, so you may be destined for the condition. However, it does appear that if you manage to avoid major trauma to the hip and stay physically active and otherwise live a healthy lifestyle, then it may be possible to significantly reduce the risk for developing the condition and requiring surgical intervention.
Between 2014 and 2017, researchers in Germany conducted a study in which nearly 24,000 patients with either hip or knee osteoarthritis received usual care or participated in a structured program focused on guidelines-recommended therapies and patient empowerment, including lifestyle changes and exercise interventions. Patients in the experimental group were 33.6% less likely to be hospitalized or undergo joint replacements related to their knee/hip.
Chiropractic care offers a unique opportunity for patients as the initial history typically includes a comprehensive review of systems including all aspects of health, both past and present. This approach often extends care well past the primary presenting complaint (hip pain, in this case) to include patient education regarding diet/nutrition, stress management, sleep quality enhancement, and more. Additionally, a doctor of chiropractic will assess related areas of the body to identify problems that can affect normal movement patterns (the foot, ankle, knee, pelvis, low back) as addressing these issues may be critical to help the patient achieve a satisfactory outcome.