What is Osteoarthritis of the Hip?

Arthritis is a general term used to pertain to joint inflammation. It’s a condition that causes pain and swelling in the body’s joints.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the inflammation to the joint causes a breakdown of the cartilage tissue, the rubbery material that covers the end of the bones. It can affect any joint of the body including the hips.

The hip is the largest joint of the body and the second most commonly affected joint by osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis of the hip is a serious condition. However, it’s not always easy to diagnose as the pain can appear in different locations such as the buttocks, thigh, groin, and knee. The pain can be dull, sharp, or stabbing and can greatly affect one’s ability to move.

The exact cause of osteoarthritis of the hip is unknown but several factors can trigger its development. These include being overweight, inherited defects in the cartilage, and improperly formed joints.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Pain around the hip is the most common symptom of osteoarthritis of the hip. This pain develops gradually and usually worsens over time. It can be felt in the groin or thigh area and radiates to other areas like the buttocks and the knees.

Aside from pain, there can also be stiffness, grinding noise (also called crepitus) during movement, “locking” of the hip joint, and decreased range of motion of the hip.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis of the Hip

A physical exam and at times, some diagnostic tests can help in diagnosing hip osteoarthritis.

During the physical exam, the doctor will look for pain when pressure is applied on the hip, tenderness, problems with the gait, limitations in the range of movement, and any sign of injury to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the hip joint.

Diagnostic tests such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scan may be requested to determine the condition of the bones and tissues of the hip.

How It Is Treated

The main goal of the treatment is to help improve the person’s mobility and function of the hip and reduce one’s pain.

Nonsurgical Treatment

During the early stages of the condition, the treatment of choice will be nonsurgical. These include lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, the use of assistive devices such as a walker, and pain medications.

Surgical Treatment

The doctor may recommend surgery if the pain from osteoarthritis is not relieved by nonsurgical treatment methods.

Some of the surgical options for osteoarthritis of the hip include osteotomy, hip resurfacing, and total hip replacement.