Hip replacement surgery has its own benefits but it is not usually the first method of choice for a patient with hip- related problems. It is not unusual for doctors to experiment with various different methods before going for the surgical option.
Common methods include walking aids, medications and exercise.
• A carefully charted out exercise programme can help to strengthen the hip muscles, particularly those around the joint.
• Aids such as walkers, or even canes, when used while walking can hugely help to reduce stress and pain from around the affected joint.
• Analgesics (pain killers) are often recommended to treat hip pain without inflammation.
• Topical analgesics such as capsaicin and methyl salicylate are also prescribed to relieve pain
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen may be effective in managing hip pain accompanied by inflammation
• Sometimes a combination of analgesics and NSAIDS may be necessary to control pain
• In the case of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis- related joint inflammation, corticosteroids could be an ideal option. Corticosteroids come with side effects such as increase in appetite, weight gain and low resistance to infections. Patients on corticosteroids need to be gently weaned off from the drug. If done suddenly it affects hormone production.
• Osteotomy is a common alternative to the hip replacement surgical procedure. It involves cutting and further realigning the bones in order to shift the weight from the affected bone to an unaffected site.
• However recovery from this procedure is long (6 to 12 months).
• Later on, the condition may worsen and additional treatment may be required.
Hip resurfacing also known as Partial Hip Replacement
• It is another alternative to hip replacement. In this procedure, a metal cap is placed on the femoral head, instead of amputating it. It functions like a natural hip and allows the patient to return to normal activities, including taking part in marathons.
• Viscosupplementation is a more recent alternative to hip replacement surgery. It involves injecting artificial lubricants into the affected hip joint to ease the pain and enhance movement.
Please note that drugs must always be taken under the supervision of a doctor. The patient should in advance tell the doctor of all the drugs, herbs or supplements that he could be taking in order to avoid drug interactions.
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