Osteoarthritis of the Hip

As you grow, your joints undergo a gradual transformation. This is a normal cycle of growth that is associated with wear and repair throughout your lifetime. As some of your joints repair themselves after tear and wear, their structure, strength, and shape change significantly. If this gradual joint transformation happens in various parts of your body, it is referred to as Osteoarthritis. In this article, you are going to learn more about Osteoarthritis of the hip and thigh, its anatomy, symptoms, different types, possible causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

What is Osteoarthritis of the Hip?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Your hip joint is the second most affected part of your body. Please remember that your hip joint is the part of your entire body where two or several bones create a junction or joint. It is at this joint area that you are able to move parts of your body easily and efficiently. Inflammation of the hip joint leads to cases of arthritis in the hip. Thus osteoarthritis of the hip.

Hip arthritis is a progressive disorder. This means that typically hip osteoarthritis starts gradually and becomes worse with time. Different stages of osteoarthritis of the hip can cause prolonged hip pain. In advanced stages, hip osteoarthritis worsens to the point of affecting your quality of life.

Hip Osteoarthritis Anatomy

The hip is among the largest joints in your body. It consists of a ball and socket joint. These components make mobility around the hip easy. The ball is the femoral head,  or the upper end of your femur (thighbone). The socket is made up of acetabulum, which is an extension of your large pelvis bone. 

Articular cartilage covers the bone surfaces of your ball and socket. This smooth, slippery substance protects and cushions the hip bones, making them move easily and efficiently. The synovium of a thin lining covers the surface of your hip joint. Its purpose is to produce a substantial amount of lubricating fluid that aids movement. 

Types of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

There are two major types of osteoarthritis: primary and secondary osteoarthritis. The two types display similar osteoarthritis symptoms, but their causes are different. 

Primary osteoarthritis: This condition refers to wear and tear of your hip joint as people grow older. Primary osteoarthritis symptoms commonly start to show up in patients aged between 55 and 60. In theory, regardless of age and status, everyone experiences cartilage breakdown in their lifetime, although some cases may become more severe than others. 

Secondary osteoarthritis: Unlike the primary osteoarthritis of the hip, the second one involves specific triggers that increase the incidences of cartilage breakdown. Some of these triggers include bone injuries, obesity, inactivity, genetics, and inflammation caused by other diseases.

Causes of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

It is not always easy to point out who might get affected by osteoarthritis of the hip. But several factors exacerbate the problem. Some of these factors or causes of hip osteoarthritis are as follows:

Genetics: In most cases, people get hip arthritis because it runs in their families. 

Childhood hip diseases: Examples of childhood diseases that are likely to cause hip arthritis are Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), and developmental hip dysplasia (DDH). All these conditions can predispose you to premature hip arthritis.

Severe trauma: Broken bones (fractures) or traumatic dislocations of the hip joint can result in osteoarthritis of the hip later in life. 

Variations in your hip anatomy: The shape of your hip joint can be a determining factor when it comes to the causes of hip osteoarthritis. This cause may also include a health condition known as femoroacetabular impingement.

Osteonecrosis: This is an acquired condition known as avascular necrosis. If left untreated, it can result in osteoarthritis of the hip. In addition, excessive consumption of alcohol, some medications like prednisone (a medical steroid), and certain medical conditions that interfere with blood clotting can cause hip arthritis.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

The most common sign of osteoarthritis of the hip is pain. Usually, this hip pain starts slowly and increases over time. The stiffness of the hip joint is also one of the major hip osteoarthritis symptoms. 

Common symptoms of hip arthritis or osteoarthritis in the hip include:

  • Hip pain that increases with vigorous activities
  • Pain in the thigh or groin that radiates from the knees and buttocks
  • Sticking or locking of the hip joint
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Increased hip joint pain with increased rainy weather

Who gets Osteoarthritis in their Hip and Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Patients over the age of 50 are prone to cases of hip osteoarthritis. This is because their advancing age makes wear and tear of their hip joints possible. In addition, women who are already in their postmenopausal stages are more likely to get affected by osteoarthritis of the hip compared to men in that stage. 

Some of the osteoarthritis risk factors are:

  • Age
  • Excess weight
  • Gender
  • Injury
  • Developmental and structural abnormalities

How To Diagnose Osteoarthritis of the Hip?

Your healthcare provider may use these diagnostic tools to find out if you have hip osteoarthritis:

  1. X-Ray: Hip X-rays will show the narrowing space between the hip joint. This loss of space indicates that the cartilage within your hip joint is worn out or lost.
  2. MRI: Even though the MRI diagnostic test may not be necessary for hip osteoarthritis, it may help detect mild hip arthritis and rule out other causes of pain.
  3. Lab Tests: During the lab tests, your doctor will review your medical history before performing a thorough physical examination of your hip and thigh. Your past medical history can help your orthopedic surgeon determine the severity of your osteoarthritis of the hip. The tests will also help your doctor decide on the most appropriate hip osteoarthritis treatment option. 

Osteoarthritis of the Hip Treatments 

Although there is no known cure for hip osteoarthritis, there are several treatment options that can help relieve pain, improve mobility and enable you to lead a quality life just like healthy people. In this regard, you can opt for nonsurgical or surgical treatment for your hip arthritis.

  • Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical is the earliest treatment for osteoarthritis of the hip. Your physician may suggest a number of nonsurgical treatment options, such as minimizing physical activities, switching from high-impact activities to lower-impact activities, and losing weight. Other options may include physical therapy, assistive devices, and medications.

  • Surgical Treatment

If nonsurgical treatment fails, the doctor may recommend surgical treatment options such as total hip replacement.

At Sforzo l Dillingham l Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine, we assure you of high-quality hip osteoarthritis hip treatment. Our highly trained, experienced orthopedic surgeons will perform several tests to determine your best treatment option. Schedule your appointment today and meet Dr. Charles E.Stewart. 

Alternatively, contact us at: 



Fax: 941.378.2805

Final Thought

Hip osteoarthritis affects people differently. For example, the condition can develop faster in one patient while it may slow down in another. Those affected the most have the irregular shape of hip bones that form in their hip joint. If the socket and ball parts of your hip joint don’t fit together perfectly, they may cause friction against each other, leading to a condition known as hip impingement. Hip impingement can lead to hip osteoarthritis if not corrected at the right time. For more information and treatment for osteoarthritis, contact  Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine today.


How serious is osteoarthritis of the hip?

Osteoarthritis in the hip is a very serious health condition that affects many people across the globe. As a matter of fact, osteoarthritis of the hip is the most common of the more than 100 types of arthritis. The hip joint is the second most affected large joint in the body. This chronic disease can take a long (months or even years) to appear. Therefore, it is a serious condition that needs immediate medical intervention.

What are the four stages of osteoarthritis?

The four stages of osteoarthritis of the hip include:

Stage 1:Minor cases of tear and wear, including minor bone spurs with little or no pain

Stage 2: Also known as mild hip osteoarthritis, this stage is characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage with bone spur growths, pain, stiffness, and discomfort in the hip joint.

Stage 3: It is also referred to as moderate hip osteoarthritis. Erosion of the cartilage leads to the narrowing the gap between your hip bones at this stage. There is also increased pain and swelling that makes walking, squatting, and kneeling difficult. 

Stage 4: This is the most severe stage of osteoarthritis of the hip. At this stage, the cartilage is destroyed, leading to chronic inflammation in the hip joint. Pain and stiffness become severe during this stage of hip osteoarthritis.

What is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is a general medical term that refers to the wear and tear of different joints in your body. It encompasses different types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis, among others. On the other hand, osteoarthritis is the wear and tear or degenerative form of arthritis that affects your bones, particularly the hip or hip joint. It is one of the most common types of arthritis among older people.

Is walking good for osteoarthritis of the hip?

Yes! Orthopedic specialists suggest that walking frequently is one of the best physical exercises for osteoarthritis of the hip. This is because walking boosts your blood flow across the cartilage and the entire hip joint region. With improved blood flow, the cartilage in your hip joint receives all essential nutrients that provide cushion and comfort to the ends of the hip joints.

Focusing On You

As healthcare is ever changing, Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine, is doing things differently…

  • Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained in hand and upper extremity surgery. He provides expert care in the treatment of problems involving the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. He performs many procedures using minimally invasive techniques includi
  • Christopher L. Dillingham, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained in hand, shoulder, and arm surgery. He specializes in the treatment of problems with rotator cuff disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve injury, joint replacement, arthritis surgery, fracture repair, foot and ankle
  • Charles E. Stewart M.D. is a board certified, Johns Hopkins fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in adult complex reconstruction of the lower extremity. His specialties include, lower extremity sports injuries, meniscal injuries, partial knee replacement, total hip and knee arthroplasty (replacement), as
  • Philip A. Meinhardt, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained spine surgeon. He specializes in adult spinal surgeries including reconstruction of spinal deformities, minimally invasive/microscopic spinal procedures, decompression, spinal instrumentation, fusion procedures and microscopic cer



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