Hip Arthritis

What is hip arthritis?

Arthritis refers to inflammation of a joint. So hip arthritis is inflammation of the hip joint, and it is a very common condition. It may be caused by:

  • Osteoarthritis – this is by the far the most common cause and is due to wearing out of the cartilage that covers the moving parts of the hip joint over time
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – this is a generalised condition that can wear out many joints, including the hip
  • Avascular necrosis – this occurs due to a problem with the blood supply to the ball of the hip joint leading to collapse of the bone
  • Post traumatic arthritis – this may occur soon or many years after an injury to the hip joint
  • Dislocation – this may be due to a serious sporting injury or trauma, and can cause damage to the joint surface or affect the blood supply of the hip joint, leading to post traumatic arthritis and/or avascular necrosis
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Birth defects (dysplasia) – it’s possible to be born with a structural abnormality of the hip joints that leads to abnormal wearing out of the hip joint.

What are the symptoms of hip arthritis?

Common symptoms of hip arthritis include:

  • stiffness, especially when you get out of bed and after sitting for a while
  • pain or swelling of the hip joint
  • a grinding or crunching feeling (or sound) in your hips when you move
  • not being able to move your hips as much as you used to (eg: difficulty with putting on shoes and socks or cutting toenails)

What does your doctor look for?

Your doctor will take your medical history to look for clues that help make a diagnosis (eg previous injury). You will also have a physical examination that will include an assessment of how your hip moves and functions.

What investigations are needed?

There is no one single test for diagnosing hip arthritis. Your doctor may request an X-ray of your hip joints to help make the diagnosis. Common abnormalities seen with hip arthritis on X-ray are joint narrowing and bone spurs at the edges of the joint.

How is hip arthritis treated?

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are several treatment options. All have the same goals – to control pain and improve the function of the hip so that you can move better and get on with everyday living.

Treatments include:

  • non-drug therapy (eg physiotherapy, exercises, joint care programs, use of a walking stick, acupuncture)
  • medications (eg anti-inflammatories)
  • injections
  • surgery (eg total hip replacement)

Our specialists at Orthopaedic Clinics Gold Coast will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your particular situation.