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The cartilage cushioning our joints naturally deteriorates over time, but when the cartilage breakdown begins to affect your hips, your mobility is in serious trouble. Hip osteoarthritis is at times a result of degeneration but can also be caused by injuries, and weight gain. It’s difficult to relieve weight off your hip joints, so anyone suffering from hip osteoarthritis finds difficulty sitting, standing, walking and even sleeping. The pain of hip osteoarthritis has robbed many people of the ability to walk unassisted, drive, work and live independently so it’s important to address the issue with the right treatment early on so you can remain active.

Pain from hip osteoarthritis can present in many different places like the groin, knees, thighs, lower back and hip area making hip osteoarthritis difficult to diagnose. In addition to the pain, hip osteoarthritis can also cause swelling in the hip area, clicking or popping noises when moving your legs, reduced mobility, weakness and involuntary jerks and lurches in the hip joint. The pain of osteoarthritis is worse in the mornings when you get out of bed and at night when you’re falling asleep, but many people suffer through normal daily activity with no relief or lessening of symptoms. The first instinct many have when the pain of hip osteoarthritis strikes is to be as still as possible to avoid further pain, but that’s the worst thing you can do. Immobilizing the joint can make your symptoms more severe, and it won’t stop the progression of your osteoarthritis.

Depending on the severity of your hip osteoarthritis, your doctor may prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy or walking aids like a walker or cane to relieve the workload on your hip joints and reduce pain. Unfortunately, none of these treatments reverse the condition and many times have no impact on pain, so patients go searching for other alternatives. Cortisone steroid injections are a popular treatment offered for hip osteoarthritis but are they really the best option?

Cortisone steroids offer a temporary fix for your inflamed hip joints and may reduce pain more significantly than the other treatment options listed above, but it’s important to be aware of the side-effects and risks of the treatment before making a decision.

Risks to current conditions: Many people who suffer from hip osteoarthritis also struggle with obesity, heart disease and diabetes and cortisone steroid injections can raise blood sugar levels putting them at risk for complications. Almost 80% of patients experience a spike in blood sugar and prolonged use of cortisone shots can drastically raise your risk of developing diabetes if you don’t already have the condition.

Cortisone flare: Cortisone steroid shots are revered for their time release pain management capabilities but sometimes the formula that makes that time release possible can be excruciatingly painful. The shot is made up of slow release crystals that can accumulate in your hip joints and cause friction and irritation.

Skin discoloration: Your skin at the injection site of your cortisone shot can become discolored cause permanent light patches.

Infection: Cortisone steroid shots can suppress immune function leaving you at risk for infection. Patient’s that are already immunocompromised are at greater risk for infection not only from the injection but also any underlying infections that may be present in the body.

Bone and tissue damage: Cortisone injections can cause the tendons, tissue, and bone in your hip area to become damaged and weakened. Prolonged use may cause your tendons to rupture resulting in the need for surgical reattachment. Cortisone steroid injections may also jumpstart osteoporosis and weaken the joint further.

You don’t want to cause yourself more unnecessary pain for a treatment that may prove ineffective for your hip osteoarthritis so consider an alternative to cortisone steroid injections. Stem cell therapy for hip osteoarthritis is a regenerative therapy that focuses on healing your osteoarthritis instead of masking the symptoms temporarily like cortisone steroid shots. Stem cell therapy harnesses the power of your immune system and commands growth factors and cytokines to your hip area to repair and regrow tissue, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and even bone. Stem cell therapy is safe and free of the dangerous side-effects of cortisone steroid shots. This minimally invasive, non-surgical approach to hip osteoarthritis can keep you on your feet longer and begin to reduce your pain as soon as hours after your treatment.