Key Points about Hip Arthritis

  • Hip arthritis is caused by osteoarthritis, the wear, and tear of the hip joint, or inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis). 
  • There is no cure for inflammatory arthritis.
  • The cause of hip osteoarthritis is still unknown, but symptoms consist of a dull pain around the hip area that increases with vigorous activity.
  • Osteoarthritis of the hip is a degenerative condition, meaning your symptoms will worsen over time.
Common related conditions
Hip Dislocation Hip Fractures


Hip arthritis is inflammation in the hip joint, most commonly caused by osteoarthritis. Some cases of inflammatory hip arthritis are caused by rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, or ankylosing spondylitis. 

Symptoms associated with hip arthritis include dull aching around the groin, outer thigh, knee, or buttocks. Typically, the pain is worse in the morning or after sitting for an extended period.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in preventing long-term, debilitating hip damage. As your condition progresses, your symptoms will worsen as cartilage breaks down.

Hip arthritis causes

  • Osteoarthritis: The exact cause of osteoarthritis of the hip is still unknown. However, evidence suggests that genetics plays a role.
  • Inflammatory arthritis: The cause of inflammatory arthritis in the hip is unknown, but some research suggests genetics plays a role.

Hip arthritis symptoms

There are several symptoms related to hip arthritis.

Symptoms for osteoarthritis include:

  • Stiffness in the hip joint
  • Dull pain in the leg, buttocks or hip
  • Stabbing pain in the hip, groin, buttocks, knee or thigh
  • Difficulty walking

Inflammatory arthritis symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling in the hip area
  • Crunching of the bone
  • Increased pain with forceful activity
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain and stiffness in the groin, knee, buttocks or outer thigh

Hip arthritis complications

Compilations associated with osteoarthritis of the hip include:

  • Limited movement
  • Disruption in sleep patterns
  • Reduced ability to perform day to day activities
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Gout
  • Bone death
  • Stress fractures
  • Pinched nerves in the spine
  • Infected joints

Hip arthritis risk factors

Risk factors associated with hip arthritis include:

  • Age: People between 40 to 60
  • Being overweight: More pressure on joints
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop hip arthritis
  • Family history: Hip arthritis may be related to inherited genetics
  • Past hip trauma: having previous hip surgery increases chances of developing hip arthritis
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to asbestos and silicone

Hip arthritis prevention

Hip arthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the joints or inflammation. While the causes of hip arthritis seem to be linked with genetics, preventing hip arthritis can be difficult. However, steps to take to lower your chances of developing arthritis include:

  • Losing excess weight
  • Exercising
  • Resting and proper joint care
  • Taking medications

Hip arthritis diagnosis

Your doctor will be able to diagnose you by an X-ray to show characteristic features of a worn-down joint and spurring of the joint margins.

It is also essential to share your medical history with your doctor.

Hip arthritis treatment

Because there is not a treatment for arthritis, the purpose of therapy is to relieve symptoms and prevent further joint deterioration.

Nonsurgical treatment for hip arthritis include:

  • Rest
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
  • Alternative therapies such as tai chi, yoga or acupuncture

Injections may also be a treatment option for hip arthritis. Types of injections to treat hip arthritis include:

  • Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Platelet-rich plasma therapy: During this innovative procedure, your doctor will take a sample of your blood, spin it to remove the platelets and inject them back into the hip. This therapy has proven to speed healing and relieve pain.

Surgical treatments include:

  • Total hip replacement: Replacing the hip with a metal or plastic joint.
  • Hip resurfacing: Can be used to delay hip replacement surgery by placing a metal cap over the joint to preserve the femur, so hip replacement is an option later.
  • Synovectomy: Used to treat inflammatory arthritis by removing joint lining to relieve symptoms.

When should I seek care?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with hip arthritis and have a family history of hip arthritis, contact your doctor to schedule a consult.

Next Steps

Symptoms associated with hip arthritis caused by osteoarthritis will worsen over time. Therefore it is essential to follow your doctor's treatment plan carefully. Reducing your symptoms with treatment will improve the quality of life.

If hip osteoarthritis is severely negatively impacting your quality of life, hip replacement may be necessary.

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