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Osteoarthritis can be very difficult to treat with hip arthroscopy. In younger patients with a small area of cartilage loss there are techniques to replace this cartilage with the most common being microfracture. During microfracture, small holes are made in the bone underneath the loss of cartilage. These small holes allow stem cells from the underlying bone to enter the cartilage defect. These cells can then form new cartilage and help relieve hip pain. However, general osteoarthritis is very difficult to treat with hip arthroscopy in the aging active person.

In the setting of generalized osteoarthritis, injection therapy can be very beneficial and provide long term pain relief and help patients avoid or delay a total hip replacement. These injections are performed by our injection specialist with the use of special ultrasound machine in order to ensure that the medication is located in the hip joint.

What treatment to expect:

Hip pain from osteoarthritis/cartilage loss can be effectively treated with anti-inflammatory medications and the treatments below.

  • An injection of a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid is always the first line of treatment. The injection does two things; it can help relieve the pain and if the person gets good relief it helps confirm that the problem is in the hip joint. Injections can be repeated every 3-4 months as needed, but the majority of patients only require 1 -2 injections.
  • If an injection fails to provide adequate relief, the patient with a small discreet cartilage defect may be a good candidate for hip arthroscopy with a possible microfracture. In the patient with more global osteoarthritis, a referral to one of our specialists in active patient hip replacement may be warranted.