What is Arthritis in the Hip?

Arthritis is defined as an inflammation of the body’s joints that causes pain and stiffness. In the hip, the two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis—the most common form of hip arthritis—involves wear and tear to the hip’s cartilage, which is the protective material that provides a smooth surface to help the hip bones move easily against each other. When the cartilage is damaged and becomes thinned, inflammation, pain, and limited movement of the joint can occur. Once the cartilage has been completely worn away, the bones rub upon each other and grinding, popping, and clicking can be felt.

With rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint (called the capsule), which surrounds the joint and produces the fluid that lubricates the joint and keeps the cartilage healthy. The immune response causes the joint lining to become inflamed and swollen which causes pain. Eventually, rheumatoid arthritis causes damage to the cartilage and bone within the joint similar to osteoarthritis.

In order to get the proper treatment, it is important that you get a professional diagnosis of your type of arthritis.

What are the Symptoms of Hip Arthritis?

The onset of arthritis of the hip affects everyone differently. For some, there is an increase in stiffness early in the morning. Others may feel sharp pain during their daily activities. Here are the most common symptoms of hip arthritis to look out for:

  • Stiffness in the hip joint that makes it difficult to walk or bend
  • Pain in your groin or thigh
  • Tenderness in the hip joint
  • Loss of flexibility in the hip that may make it hard to walk or may cause a limp
  • Grating sensation during movement

The specific symptoms of the different hip arthritis conditions can sometimes be the same. Orthopedic hip specialists can determine what type of arthritis you have and provide appropriate treatment, so you can start your path to recovery.

Are You at Risk for Hip Arthritis?

The lifetime risk for hip osteoarthritis has been estimated to be about one in five for men and one in four for women. While osteoarthritis is most prevalent among people over 60, several other factors can put you at risk for developing it, including:

  • Age. The older you are, the more wear and tear on the cartilage in the hip.
  • Excess weight. Being overweight or obese adds undue stress on the hips.
  • Injury. Prior hip trauma, such as a fracture, can lead to arthritis.
  • Overuse. Overuse is a common cause of stress, often work- or sports-related.
  • Gender. Post-menopausal women are more susceptible to hip osteoarthritis than men.
  • Autoimmune issues. The immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing pain.
  • Genetics. A large number of hip arthritis cases have been tied to a genetic component.
  • Other Health Issues. Diabetes, high cholesterol, and vitamin D deficiency have been linked to arthritis.

How Does an Orthopedist Diagnose Arthritis?

The symptoms of hip arthritis can be different from individual to individual. They can also mimic symptoms of other conditions. It’s important that your doctor complete a thorough exam to pinpoint the source of your hip pain. We begin with a complete medical history to determine if there may be other underlying conditions contributing to the pain. We also ask hip-pain-specific questions to ensure we can provide a personalized treatment plan for your situation.

At EmergeOrtho, our board-certified physicians use advanced diagnostic technology and services to diagnose hip arthritis. These may include state-of-the-art MRI scanners, computed tomography scans (CT), X-rays, DEXA (bone density) scans, and body composition analyses. These diagnostic tools enable us to effectively diagnose, treat, and even prevent some hip conditions.

What Treatments are Available?

Individuals who suffer from pain and inflammation caused by arthritis in the hip often get relief from nonsurgical treatments. At EmergeOrtho, we develop a treatment plan that first utilizes conservative treatments, such as:

  • NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injections
  • Ultrasound-guided injections

If these conservative treatments do not provide adequate pain relief, surgery may be necessary. In rare cases, doctors may recommend arthroscopy to remove loose pieces of bone, trim bone spurs, or try to stimulate cartilage healing. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery where incisions about the size of a button-hole are made and miniaturized cameras and surgical instruments are used to visualize and treat abnormalities. In rheumatoid arthritis, arthroscopy may be needed to remove the overgrown joint lining. Once all conservative measures have failed, total or partial hip replacement is needed, Hip replacement surgery involves substituting an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial joint.

Our orthopedic hip specialists understand the debilitating effect hip arthritis can have on your daily life. Understanding the current status of your condition and the impact it has on your individual life enables us to do our job right. We aim to help you resume the activities you love free of pain—in a safe and timely manner. If you are suffering from hip pain, contact us to get the relief you deserve and Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

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