About Hip or Knee Arthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage that cushions and protects the ends of your bones within a joint gradually wears away. Osteoarthritis can result from overuse, trauma, or the natural degeneration of cartilage that occurs with aging. The joints of the hip and knee are especially vulnerable to osteoarthritis because they bear a lot of a person’s weight. However, joints that are used extensively in work or sports, or joints that have been damaged by injury or trauma may also show signs of osteoarthritis. With most types of arthritis, the joint becomes inflamed, causing swelling, pain, and stiffness. Inflammation in the joint may be severe and cause long-lasting or permanent disability. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are a variety of treatments to help relieve the pain and disability that it can cause.
Symptoms of Hip or Knee Arthritis
The symptoms of hip or knee arthritis tend to worsen over time.
Symptoms of hip or knee arthritis may include:
- Decreased range of motion of the hip or knee
- Pain or tenderness in the hip or knee
- Popping or cracking sound associated with hip or knee movement
- Swelling of the hip or knee
Risk Factors for Hip or Knee Arthritis
Certain people are at greater risk of developing hip or knee arthritis.
Risk factors for hip or knee arthritis may include:
- Age: As the cartilage damage associated with osteoarthritis occurs over a long period of time, hip and knee arthritis are more common in older adults.
- Personal history: Past injury or a history of joint overuse are associated with a greater risk for hip or knee arthritis. A history of obesity can also put greater stress on your joints over time.
Treating Hip or Knee Arthritis at UT Health Austin
Arthritis treatment at UT Health Austin typically starts with lifestyle modifications, including weight loss and exercise, which help preserve your joints and prevent the condition from progressing. Other treatments, such as over the counter NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), physical therapy, braces, and walking aids can be helpful in reducing your pain and maintaining your activity level. If that doesn’t help, you and your care team can discuss options like topical NSAIDs or injections. Depending on the progression of your condition and your goals, joint replacement surgery may also be an option to address your arthritis. Throughout the course of your treatment, your care team will work with you to understand the risk and benefits and what you can expect throughout your care.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Musculoskeletal Institute care team includes orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, physiatrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, and more who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to customize a treatment plan specific to you. Treatment may include nonsurgical interventions, such as lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, or medication and injections, or surgery may be the best course of action to help improve your pain and function. Advanced imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed.