Hip Arthritis Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery
Reviewed by Dr. David Crawford
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint comprising two bones, the femur (thighbone) and the pelvis. The ball of the hip joint is made by the femoral head, while the socket is formed by the acetabulum. The hip’s ball-and-socket joint allows the leg to rotate and move forward, backward, and sideways.
In a healthy hip, the ball and socket are protected by a layer called articular cartilage, which allows for the bones in the hip joint to glide together smoothly. One of the most common forms of injury to the hip is hip arthritis.
Hip arthritis occurs when the articular cartilage in the hip joint wears down or is damaged, resulting in the bones grinding together. This causes painful inflammation and stiffness in the hip, making it difficult to move the leg.
If you are experiencing hip pain, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH. Our hip specialists look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Types of Hip Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis that can affect the hip. The list below includes some common types of arthritis that can affect the hip.
This is the most common form of arthritis seen in the hip. Osteoarthritis usually occurs in people aged 60 and above. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease and develops due to wear and tear on the joints.
You are at a higher risk if you have had some type of hip trauma, hip dysplasia, or are overweight. Listed below are the four stages of osteoarthritis of the hip.
- Stage 1: Minor wear and tear of the hip joints, typically little to no pain felt.
- Stage 2: X-rays begin to show more noticeable bone spur growths. The affected area will start to feel stiff and uncomfortable.
- Stage 3: This stage is also known as moderate osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the affected area starts to erode and narrow the gap between the bone and the joint, resulting in pain and discomfort during normal daily activities.
- Stage 4: This stage is known as severe osteoarthritis. During this stage, the cartilage is almost gone, causing chronic inflammation. Pain and stiffness are felt almost all of the time.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disorder affecting your entire body, not just the hip joint. In cases like this, the inflammation is related to an immune system response rather than wear and tear.
RA causes inflammation of the synovial membrane, a capsule surrounding the hip joint. This results in pain and swelling and eventually can cause the bone and cartilage of the joint itself to deteriorate. RA typically affects smaller joints first, like the wrist and fingers, and may not be noticeable in the hip until symptoms occur.
This type of arthritis can develop in people with psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition that can also cause inflammation in your joints. Although psoriatic arthritis typically develops after the skin symptoms begin, it is also possible to experience them before.
Avascular Necrosis happens when a bone loses its blood supply and starts to collapse. Typically, avascular necrosis develops in the hip’s femoral head (the ball of the joint). As the tissue dies, the femoral head collapses and loses its shape, resulting in severe hip arthritis.
Symptoms of Hip Arthritis
There are several symptoms that could indicate that you are developing hip arthritis. Some of the symptoms of hip arthritis are listed below.
- Pain, weakness, and stiffness in the hip
- Limited range of motion
- Difficulty walking, sometimes even limping
- Pain in the hip that may spread to the groin, outer thigh, or buttocks
- Pain that is typically worse in the morning and lessens with activity
- Crepitus, which is a crunching, cracking, or clicking sound you may hear when moving your hip
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have other concerns about hip arthritis, contact one of our orthopedic specialists at JIS Orthopedics for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Hip Arthritis
If you think you might have arthritis in your hip, it is essential to make sure you receive an accurate diagnosis. During your visit, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing, followed by a physical examination.
During the physical examination, your hip’s range of motion will be evaluated. Increased pain and limitation during certain movements may be a sign of arthritis.
X-rays and radiographs may be required to determine if there are any abnormalities in the joint. In some cases, doctors will request a blood test to determine any antibodies that may be associated with a specific type of arthritis.
Treatment of Hip Arthritis
There are surgical and non-surgical treatments for arthritis, depending on the extent of the condition. Your orthopedic doctor will prescribe the best treatment for your unique situation following their diagnosis. Below are some of the surgical and non-surgical treatments available for hip arthritis.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Hip Arthritis
Non-surgical treatments for hip arthritis are aimed at controlling the condition and offering support to affected joints. Some non-surgical treatment methods for hip arthritis are listed below.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines, which may include Naproxen or Ibuprofen.
- Corticosteroids injections to block inflammation of the joint.
- Physical therapy to improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Swimming is a common exercise for those who suffer from hip arthritis.
- Devices such as canes or walkers, to make it easier and safer to walk.
- Lifestyle changes are highly recommended, such as maintaining a healthy weight, changing your daily activities to minimize stress on the hip, and exercising slowly to build back strength.
Surgical Treatments for Hip Arthritis
Surgical treatments for hip arthritis are aimed at providing a long-term solution to the condition. Some surgical treatment methods for hip arthritis are listed below.
- Hip Preservation Surgery — These types of operations prevent damaged cartilage from wearing down further. The following are examples of hip preservation surgeries:
- Hip Osteotomy
- Hip Arthrotomy
- Hip Arthroscopy
- Total Hip Replacement Surgery — Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend a total or partial joint replacement surgery. During a total hip replacement (arthroplasty), the ball and socket of the hip are removed and replaced by artificial implants.
- Hip Resurfacing — During this surgery, a metal cap is placed on the femoral head instead of replacing the entire head with a total hip arthroplasty. Patients who have hip resurfacing tend to have an increased range of motion and are able to get back to higher activity levels.
- Joint Fusion (Arthrodesis) — This method fuses the bones of the hip joint together. This used to be the standard surgery for hip arthritis before replacements became available, but now it is a last-resort option due to its severe impact on a patient’s mobility.
See a Hip Arthritis Specialist Today!
If you are experiencing pain in your hip, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany, Athens, and St. Clairsville, OH. Our hip specialists look forward to helping you relieve your pain and get back to doing what you love!