A woman in a red shirt holding her hip as she sits.

Hip Arthritis

When the hip develops arthritis, it is generally osteoarthritis, a common age-related condition that affects the hip joint and other joints in the body. Osteoarthritis worsens over time, gradually causing the hip joint and cartilage to wear away, causing pain from the bones rubbing against each other. Due to the degenerative nature of osteoarthritis, it is essential to seek treatment early on and avoid more invasive treatments.

What is Arthritis of the Hip: Osteoarthritis

When osteoarthritis develops in the hip, the cartilage will gradually wear away and cause the protective joint space between the bones to decrease. As the cartilage becomes more frayed and rough, the bones will begin to rub up against each other which will cause the bones to make up for the lost cartilage by growing outward and forming bone spurs. Osteoarthritis in the hip develops slowly with symptoms growing progressively worse as the cartilage wears away.

Hip Arthritis Symptoms & Causes

There is no specific cause for his osteoarthritis, but there are factors that increase the likelihood of it developing:

  • A family history of osteoarthritis
  • Past injury to the hip joint
  • Obesity
  • Improper hip joint formation, such as developmental dysplasia
  • eing over the age of fifty

The most common symptom of arthritis in the hip is pain. The pain isn’t severe at first, it develops slowly over years and worsens with time. Stiffness in the hip is also a primary symptom, especially in the morning or after resting for some time. Other hip arthritis symptoms include:

  • Pain in the groin or thigh that radiates to the knees or buttock
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Stiffness in the hip that makes walking or bending more difficult
  • Locking and a grinding noise are heard in the hip joint during movement.
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip, making walking difficult or causing a limp.

Hip Arthritis Treatment

There is no cure for hip arthritis, but there are treatment options, both nonsurgical and surgical, that can help relieve pain and improve a person’s mobility:

Nonsurgical and conservative treatment of osteoarthritis is recommended in the earlier stages, helping to avoid surgery or more invasive treatments as long as possible. Treatment options include:

  • Lifestyle modifications: Minimizing activities that cause pain, switching to lower impact exercise like swimming or cycling, and other lifestyle modifications that help slow the disease's progress.
  • Physical therapy: Using specific exercises at the direction of a physical therapist to help increase range of motion and flexibility, also strengthening the muscles in the hip. These exercises are usually part of an individualized program.
  • Assistive devices: Having a cane, crutches, or walker to take the weight off the hip and improve mobility.
  • Medications: Recommended to help with hip pain. Medications such as corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are usually recommended.

If conservative approaches don't provide pain relief or the disease has progressed to extensive damage to the hip joint, surgery will likely be recommended. Several types of surgery can be suggested to a patient, including:

  • Total Hip Replacement: the doctor removes both the damaged ball and socket of the hip joint, replacing them with either a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis to restore hip function.
  • Hip Resurfacing: The damaged bone and cartilage in the hip socket are removed and replaced with a metal shell. The head of the femur is kept but capped with a smooth metal covering to avoid the bones grinding against each other.
  • Osteotomy: The head of the thigh bone or the socket is cut and realigned to take pressure off the hip joint. This is rarely performed to treat osteoarthritis in the hip but may be recommended.

Hip Doctors

  • Hip & Knee Replacement
  • Robotic/Computer Assisted
  • Sports Medicine
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Hip
  • Knee

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