Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. As one of the largest joints in the body, the hip is often involved. There are many types of hip arthritis, all of which involve some form of inflammation of the joint and associated damage and wear to the cartilage surfaces of the joint.
The most common types of arthritis include Osteoarthritis (related to wear and tear of the joint associated with activity and aging), Inflammatory Arthritis (from an overactive immune system) and Post-traumatic arthritis (associated with a known significant previous trauma to the hip).
Symptoms of hip arthritis often include pain with motion and use of the joint and a limitation in joint functioning. Inflammation or swelling of the joint may also occur, but given the deep anatomic location of the hip is often difficult to appreciate, unlike an arthritic knee or hand.
Hip arthritis can affect anyone, men and women, adults and children.
Hip arthritis is diagnosed from a patient’s history and physical exam, x-rays, and sometimes blood or joint fluid tests. The pattern of symptoms, physical exam and x-ray findings (joint space narrowing, osteosclerosis, subchondral bone cysts, and bone spurs). Early and accurate diagnosis can be helpful to limit long term joint damage and disability.
The specific type of arthritis diagnosed is critical in guiding treatment. Treatments options can be numerous and may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, splinting or gait aides, immune altering medications and as an end stage treatment, surgery.