Hip Osteoarthritis

An overview of the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the hip.

The hips often are one of the first joints to develop osteoarthritis. As we age, the tissues in our joints often break down, resulting in osteoarthritis.  Many middle-aged and older adults experience minor inflammation, pain, and stiffness as the cartilage in their hip wears. However, for some osteoarthritis patients, the inflammation progresses and the pain may become severe.

If you have a family history of osteoarthritis, you're more likely to develop it yourself. However, many patients can trace their osteoarthritis back to an injury, work, exercise, or a hobby. Obesity also increases the risk of hip osteoarthritis.

The first symptom of osteoarthritis is usually a small twinge of stiffness in your hip. But as the osteoarthritis evolves, your hip may become rigid and painful. You may have a harder time doing everyday activities, such as taking a short walk, bending over to tie your shoe or getting up from a chair.

The pain usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse. The pain and stiffness may be worse when you get up in the morning, or after you have been sitting or resting for awhile. Pain is often experienced in the thigh and buttock, and can mislead you into thinking you have a muscle strain in the area.

Hip Osteoarthritis Diagnosis
Your doctor can diagnose osteoarthritis in your hip through a physical exam and an x-ray. During the exam, your doctor will look for signs such as tenderness in the hip, reduced range of motion in the hip, a grating sensation inside the joint when you move, pain when pressure is placed on the hip, and problems with the way you walk.

The x-ray can show whether you have a narrowing of the joint space, changes in the bone, and whether you have bone spurs.

Your doctor can tell you how severe your osteoarthritis is and provide you with a rough estimate of how likely you are to need a hip replacement in the next few years.

Updated on: 11/17/15
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Hip Osteoarthritis Treatments