Hip Arthritis on the Big Stage: Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her Pain
Born This Way
Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that songwriter and singer, Lady Gaga, has made a serious impression on pop culture. From her early hits, like 2008’s “Paparazzi,” to her half-time performance at the last Super Bowl, she’s become an adored figure to fans and critics alike. Inspired by the art world, she’s unapologetic and fearless, making her an icon in both pop music and fashion. Now, she graces the cover of another magazine, but it’s not Rolling Stone or Vogue: it’s Arthritis Magazine, where she talks about her struggles with hip arthritis. 
And while it’s not uncommon for celebrities to raise awareness about different medical conditions, it’s good to see Lady Gaga using her platform to talk about her own struggles with this painful condition. If you’ve seen her perform, you know that she employs a great deal of choreography. Like Michael Jackson, Prince or Madonna before her, dancing is a huge part of her show. Her struggles with hip pain, then, had a direct impact on her work, and they’ve even caused her to cancel shows and seek out surgical treatment.
Since this form of arthritis is having a pop-cultural moment, let’s take a closer look at the condition.
The Headliner: Hip Arthritis
Arthritis in the hip is one of a number of related conditions characterized by pain, stiffness, swelling and sometimes lack of mobility. Basically, the hallmark of these issues is that cartilage—the material that cushions bones at the joints—breaks down, which causes the bones to rub against each other.  In addition, the associated pain doesn’t just stay localized in the hip joint, either; it can radiate to the legs or lower back.
Most cases are the result of two forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Let’s take a quick look at them: 
- Osteoarthritis (OA): This is by far the most common form of arthritis in the hip, and it occurs when the cartilage that lines the joint between the head of the femur (leg bone) and the acetabulum (the hip “socket”), wears out. In addition to the usual cascade of symptoms, overgrowths called bone spurs can appear. OA is typically felt as pain in the groin and front of the thigh, which usually gets worse after periods of inactivity.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): In some cases, the body’s immune system will mistakenly attack the “synovium,” which is the thin membrane that lines the joints. This leads to a chronic inflammatory response. Symptoms of RA in the hip include pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the affected joint. It’s something that can also affect the wrists, hands, knees, feet, ankles and elbows, and it’s the form that Lady Gaga has. 
The prevalence for these conditions rises with age. Looking at all forms of arthritis, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) note that nearly half of Americans over 65 have reported being diagnosed with it. Still, younger people like Lady Gaga, aren’t immune: 7.1% of adults 18-44 have been diagnosed. 
Getting Back on Stage
There a number of approaches to treat this condition. For some, the key may be in losing excess weight, while others can be aided through the use of orthotic braces and crutches.  To help with pain and reduce inflammation, over the counter and prescribed medications might be advised. In Gaga’s case, though, as in many out there, surgery represented the best option. 
What sort of surgical work can be done?
- Hip Resurfacing: In this approach the head of the femur bone is trimmed and an artificial cap is placed on it. Damaged cartilage and bone is removed from the socket, which is lined with a metal shell. 
- Total Hip Replacement: As the name implies, this surgery involves replacing the upper part of the thigh bone completely with a prosthetic stem, which is fitted with a metal or ceramic ball. As in resurfacing, a special metal shell is crafted for the socket, which is padded to preserve mobility. 
Therefore, figuring out a treatment that works involves consultation with doctors and specialists. But the good news is that these methods can be very successful in treating hip arthritis.
Taking a Bow
What’s most important is that, if you are experiencing hip problems, you don’t sit idly by. Gaga had no choice but to take on her hip pain. Music and performing are a huge part of who she is and what she does. Nothing was going to get in her way, so, as she put it, “I fought RA pain with my passion.”  Even if you aren’t midway through a very successful career as a popstar singer, it’s worth taking on that kind of fearless attitude in the search for a solution.
If you’re experiencing hip pain, talk to a Patient Care Manager at Onward Orthopedics about the many treatment options available. Emphasizing a commitment to employing the latest technologies and approaches, while remaining completely dedicated to the patient, these experts have helped countless patients find relief. Call them today at (800) 577-1693.
- Stoneback, S. (2017). Lady Gaga’s Latest Cover Is On ‘Arthritis’ Magazine. [online] UPROXX. Available at: http://uproxx.com/music/lady-gaga-arthritis-magazine-cover/ [Accessed 31 Mar. 2017].
- “Diseases That Affect The Hip | Hip Diseases”. 2017. Org. Accessed March 31 2017. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/hip-pain/causes/hip-joint-pain.php.
- “Arthritis-Related Statistics | Data And Statistics | Arthritis | CDC”. 2017. Gov. Accessed March 31 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm.
- “Treatments For Arthritis Hip And Knee Pain”. 2017. Org. Accessed March 31 2017. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/tips/25-treatments-for-hip-knee-oa.php.
- ” Hip Resurfacing-Orthoinfo – AAOS “. 2017. Aaos.Org. Accessed March 31 2017. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00586.
- ” Total Hip Replacement-Orthoinfo – AAOS “. 2017. Aaos.Org. Accessed March 31 2017. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00377.