Infiltrative therapy as conservative treatment in hip osteoarthritis: a literature review

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common disease, its prevalence increases with age and is a frequent cause of disability.

Osteoarthritis is characterised by joint pain, stiffness and loss of range of motion. Overall, as many as 40% of those aged over 65 years in the community may have symptomatic OA of the knee or hip (1). OA results from a complex interaction of biomechanical and biochemical factors and is characterised by cartilage disruption and hypertrophy of bone. Intraarticular proinflammatory cytokines and proteinases in OA interfere with the synthesis of hyaluronic acid (HA), a complex glycosaminoglycan composed of repeated disaccharide units to form a linear polymer, resulting in an HA with a significantly reduced molecular weight and a reduction in synovial fluid viscoelasticity (2, 3). Loss of normal characteristics of HA leads to the degradation of the articular cartilage and the disruption of the mechanical and homeostasis of the joint.

Several pharmaceutical approaches, such as analgesics, non steroidal antiinflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors and steroids, have been proposed (4), with the aim of reducing pain and maintaining and/or improving joint function. However, none of these options has shown to delay the progression of osteoarthritis or reverse joint damage.

Infiltrative hip therapy involves injecting into the joint the drugs or medicinal substances that are used primarily to control the symptoms of the disease, such as pain and functional limitation.

The aim of this review is to analyse existing infiltrative alternatives for hip osteoarthritis, and describe our experience.

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