Kevin M. Moran, MD

Hip Arthritis

Aug 03, 2023
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What is hip arthritis?

Hip arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis of the hip, is a degenerative joint disease that affects the hip joint. Similar to knee arthritis, hip arthritis is characterized by the gradual breakdown of the cartilage that covers the surfaces of the hip joint, causing pain and stiffness.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, where the rounded head of the thigh bone (femur) fits into the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis (acetabulum). The cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones, allowing smooth and pain-free movement of the joint.

With hip arthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and thins over time due to various factors, including:

Age: The risk of hip arthritis increases with age as the cartilage naturally deteriorates over the years.

Overuse or Previous Injuries: Repeated stress on the hip joint or past injuries can lead to the development of arthritis.

Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing arthritis.

Joint Abnormalities: Structural issues in the hip joint can lead to uneven wear and tear of the cartilage.

Symptoms of hip arthritis may include:

Hip Pain: Pain in the hip joint is the primary symptom, often felt in the groin, thigh, or buttock. The pain may worsen with activity and improve with rest.

Stiffness: The hip joint may feel stiff, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Reduced Range of Motion: The ability to move the hip joint through its full range of motion may become limited.

Difficulty Walking: Arthritis-related pain and stiffness can make it challenging to walk or bear weight on the affected hip.

Joint Deformity: In severe cases, hip arthritis may lead to joint deformities and a noticeable change in the hip's shape.

Diagnosing hip arthritis typically involves a physical examination, medical history review, and imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to assess the condition of the hip joint and rule out other potential causes of hip pain.

Treatment options for hip arthritis include:

Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that worsen symptoms can be beneficial.

Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design exercises to strengthen the hip muscles and improve joint flexibility.

Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications may help manage pain and inflammation.

Injections: Corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief of hip pain and inflammation.

Assistive Devices: Using a cane or walker can reduce pressure on the affected hip joint.

Surgical Interventions: In severe cases, joint-preserving surgeries or hip replacement surgery may be considered.

Early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial in managing hip arthritis and maintaining the best possible joint function and quality of life. If you suspect you have hip arthritis or are experiencing persistent hip pain, make an appointment with Dr. Kevin Moran, a board certified orthopedic surgeon for evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations.