You are very young to have hip osteoarthritis. In these cases, there is often something in your past that can give a clue as to why you have developed it. Often this is due to a fracture (broken bone) or you may have a slight difference in the way your hip developed. This has been linked to a condition called Femoroacetabular Impingement which is a mismatch between the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) of the hip.
Unfortunately there is little you can do to actually REVERSE osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition where you lose the cartilage that covers the bone of your joint. The cartilage is very important, and stops your bone from rubbing on bone. Once the bone is exposed, you will start to release inflammatory cells from the bone into the joint, which is why you start experiencing pain. This is also the clue to treatment in the first instance.
Due to the inflammation, the pain can be managed with pain relievers that target inflammation. This includes drugs such as an Anti-inflammatory (Nurofen, Voltaren, Mobic etc) as well as natural anti-inflammatories (Glucosamine and Fish Oil). Glucosamine and Fish Oil have been shown in large studies to be beneficial in 60% of patients suffering from osteoarthritis. I tell my patients to try it for 3 months, and stop if there is no improvement.
The exposed bone in your joint starts to create other changes within the joint. Bone spurs (osteophytes) develop, as do bone cysts (Voids next to the joint devoid of bone) which create stiffness in the joint. Along with the pain associated with osteoarthritis, these changes limit the movement of your joint. In your hip, you will probably find that bringing your knee to your chest is affected. Functionally people with bad hip arthritis find it hard to rotate their hip, and find that cutting their nails, tying shoes, and getting in and out of a car are affected.
Current research is aimed at growing cartilage. Whilst we have been able to successfully grow cartilage, we have not been able to tell it where to go. Our studies with stem cells, and other agents have resulted in the production of loose bodies in the joint. The general consensus here is that regenerating a joint is probably at least 5-10 years away, unfortunately.
In your current situation, your options are:
- Medical Management: Analgesia, weight loss, walking aids.
- Surgery: Total Hip Replacement of Fusion (Fusions are not as widely performed currently, due to the excellent results of Total Hip Replacements and their infrequent use)
I hope this helps to answer your question.
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