Hip arthritis is a progressive condition involving degeneration of the cartilage and bones of the hip joint.
What is hip arthritis?
Hip arthritis can be divided into osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) or inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Inflammatory arthritis is typically a part of a broader spectrum of systemic symptoms related to inflammation or auto-immune conditions. Arthritis often is also associated with damage to the surrounding structures of the hip including muscles, ligaments and tendons.
What causes hip arthritis?
Hip arthritis can be divided into osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) or inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Inflammatory arthritis is typically a part of a broader spectrum of systemic symptoms related to inflammation or auto-immune conditions. Osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) can be related to structural differences of the hip including those seen in femoroacetabular impingement syndrome and hip dysplasia. In femoroacetabular impingement, the ball and socket are not shaped perfectly round and cause added friction over time. In hip dysplasia, the socket is shallow and angled in a way that results in added forces through the hip. Less commonly, hip arthritis can be post-traumatic, meaning it results from trauma. Many cases of osteoarthritis are classified as idiopathic, meaning no cause is identified.
What are the symptoms of hip arthritis?
Hip arthritis typically presents with pain to the front of the hip/groin. This pain is often made worse by deep squatting or bending motions of the hip, as well as twisting and pivoting motions. The hip becomes stiffer over time. Patients may have difficulty squatting and bending, and performing simple actions like putting on socks and shoes can be difficult.
How is hip arthritis diagnosed?
Hip arthritis is diagnosed using the combination of a thorough clinical examination and imaging of the hip. X-rays allow the physician to assess the presence and severity of arthritis in the hip and can also be helpful to identify other conditions. MRI is usually not necessary to identify or treat hip arthritis. In some instances, injections can be useful in confirming the source of hip pain (as opposed to pain from the spine or other structures around the hip or pelvis).
How is hip arthritis treated?
Many hip conditions, including hip arthritis, can be treated using non-surgical measures, including activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, ice and sometimes physical therapy. In some situations, an injection to the hip region can provide some relief and to also confirm where the pain is coming from. These injections are often guided with imaging – either ultrasound or X-ray. In patients who have not responded to non-surgical measures, hip replacement surgery may be required. Minimally invasive procedures such as hip arthroscopy have not been shown to be helpful in patients with any substantial arthritis.