What is hip osteoarthritis?

Hip osteoarthritis is often called “wear-and-tear” arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint disease and is more likely to affect individuals as they age. Hip osteoarthritis occurs when the injury and inflammation in the joint cause a breakdown of the cartilage that covers the bone. This cartilage, called articular cartilage is often compared to the shiny “gristle” at the ends of chicken bones. The articular cartilage allows for smooth movement of the hip joint and keeps the bones from rubbing together. When the articular cartilage breaks down, the shock absorbing quality is lost and leads to bone-on-bone apposition. This creates inflammation, pain and stiffness. Advanced hip osteoarthritis can make it difficult to walk, rise from a chair or bend over to tie one’s shoes. The experts at BICMD have extensive experience with hip osteoarthritis and can help you via their orthopedic telemedicine platform.

What causes osteoarthritis of the hip?

Osteoarthritis usually occurs in older individuals and is a by-product of joint use and repetitive motion. This can cause the wear and tear and subsequent breakdown of the articular cartilage. Other factors that may contribute to hip osteoarthritis are:

  • Excessive weight
  • Genetic defects in the articular cartilage
  • Improperly formed hip joint
  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Previous hip injury

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hip?

Pain within the hip joint is the most common symptom of hip osteoarthritis. Often pain develops over time and can worsen with activity. Other symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include:

  • Stiffness in the joint and trouble walking
  • Pain that increases with activity
  • Groin pain or pain that radiates to the buttocks or knee
  • Crepitus – or a crunching, popping or grinding noise in the hip
  • Locking of the hip joint
  • Decreased range of motion

How is hip osteoarthritis diagnosed?

Our experts at BICMD can diagnose hip osteoarthritis and provide recommendations using our virtual orthopedic telemedicine platform. An x-ray and MRI, along with a complete patient history, are often used to reach the proper diagnosis. An x-ray can show abnormal bone characteristics while an MRI can show the health and condition of the articular cartilage in the hip, as well as other hip structures. We can help you develop the best plan of action for your hip osteoarthritis and let you know what treatments we recommend.

How is osteoarthritis in the hip treated?

Non-Surgical Treatment:

Conservative measures should be the first line of treatment for osteoarthritis in the hip. The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain and improve mobility. Treatments may include:

  • Rest, ice, elevation
  • Discontinuation of activities that may contribute to painful hip symptoms such as running or climbing the stairs
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Weight loss
  • Using a cane, crutches or a walker to take pressure off the affected hip joint
  • Hip injections

Surgical Treatment:

Surgical intervention should be considered when conservative methods fail to alleviate pain and restore mobility. Surgery for hip osteoarthritis can include:

  • Osteotomy – The head of the femur (thigh bone), the acetabulum (hip socket) or both may be cut to realign the joint and take pressure off of the hip surfaces.
  • Hip Resurfacing (link to treatment) – Similar to a hip replacement, but more conservative. During hip resurfacing, the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and the surfaces of the femur and the acetabulum are capped with a smooth metal covering that moves smoothly together and eliminates bone-on-bone friction.
  • Hip Replacement (link to treatment) – Also called hip arthroplasty the hip joint is replaced by metal, ceramic or plastic parts. During this procedure, the head of the femur is replaced with a smooth metal ball. The acetabulum is replaced with a new joint surface and the two act together to form a new hip joint.

For more information on hip osteoarthritis and the possible treatment options you should consider, or to  have your hip condition evaluated by one of our experts, please click on “Connect With a Doctor” to reach one of our orthopedic telemedicine experts.