Hip replacements are commonplace, with thousands of patients undergoing either partial of full joint replacements each year. In fact, according to the National Joint Registry, the figure for those having total hip or knee replacements each year across England and Wales is now in excess of 160,000.
Before you undergo an operation to replace the joint, there are steps that will be taken to try and mitigate the problem, and to try and give you a better quality of life before you take the surgical step. More and people are asking after the benefits of injectable treatments, which are reported to help ease the pain of a joint that is failing. However, in our opinion, some of these are worth exploring whilst others may provide little more than a placebo effect.
Understanding the limitations of injectables in treating hip arthritis
There are a variety of different treatments for painful joints that can be administered via injection. These include steroids, lubricants, stem cells and many others. While these may garner a lot of publicity, that does not mean to say they are clinically proven to be as effective as they might promise. There is no evidence that any injection treatment available at the moment will reverse the process, buy somehow re-growing cartilage, as some publicity suggest may be the case.
Steroid injections are commonly given to patients who are suffering with a deteriorating joint, however, it is important that their limitations are understood. Whilst they may ease the pain temporarily, they are only masking the problem. Steroid injections will not repair the joint; they will merely help patients live with the discomfort.
In a report published recently at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), following a period of research whereby X-rays of patients who received steroid injections to help them live with joint discomfort, were directly compared with X-rays of patients who didn’t opt for that treatment. The study comprised 102 patients who received two steroid injections, and two control groups of similar scope, with correlating demographics. They found that “osteoarthritis patients who received a steroid injection in the hip had a significantly greater incidence of bone death and collapse compared with control groups.” This suggests that the injection may actually cause further damage to the joint.
No need to be anxious about joint replacement surgery
Steroid injection can help control pain in patients where there is no alternative to hip replacement, so even though this study shows that they can cause problems, Mr Bridle thinks that, used judiciously, they do have a role in managing patients with hip osteoarthritis.
Although a hip replacement can sound like a daunting prospect, it is one of the longest standing operations with the first hip replacement undertaken in the 1960s and has been helping people achieve a better quality of life for decades.
Surgeons such as Mr Bridle will ensure you’re in safe hands and have all the information you need to fully understand the process and the recovery period. Aftercare is very important and you’ll be guided every step of the way to make sure that you know what to expect from the recovery time and what exercises to undertake to help the new joint settle in.