Hip Osteoarthritis

HIP1 Hip Osteoarthritis


Hip osteoarthritis is a common type of osteoarthritis (OA). Since the hip is a weight bearing joint, osteoarthritis can cause significant problems. Early diagnosis and treatment help manage hip osteoarthritis symptoms. An overview of hip osteoarthritis will help you understand symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Causes of Hip Osteoarthritis?

Hip osteoarthritis is caused by deterioration of articular cartilage and wear-and-tear of the hip joint. There are several reasons this can develop:

• previous hip injury

•previous fracture, which changes hip alignment

• genetics

• congenital and developmental hip disease

• subchondral bone that is too soft or too hard

• avascular necrosis (AVN)

Diagnosis of Hip Osteoarthritis

Your doctor will consider your complete medical history, results from your physical examination, and x-rays to determine the extent of joint damage and formulate a diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis. If more information is needed, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered by your doctor. Blood tests may be used if it is necessary to rule out other types of arthritis.


Patients who have hip osteoarthritis have pain localized to the groin area and the front or side of the thigh. Morning stiffness, though for less duration than occurs with rheumatoid arthritis, is also characteristic of hip osteoarthritis. Most significantly, there is limited range of motion of the hip and pain during motion. The symptoms can worsen to the point that pain is constantly present.


Hip osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but there are treatments available to help manage symptoms. Treatment plans should be personalized to each patient and other conditions must be considered.

Nonsurgical Treatment

If you have early stages of osteoarthritis of the hip, the first treatment may be:

• Rest your hip from overuse

• Follow a physical therapy program of gentle, regular exercise like swimming, water aerobics or cycling to keep your joint functioning and improve its strength and range of motion

• Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen for pain

• Get enough sleep each night

• You may need to lose weight if you are overweight. As the disease progresses, you may need to use a cane.

Medications are one way to treat hip osteoarthritis. For mild cases, anti-inflammatory medicine is usually tried first. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) or lubricant injection is used for moderate to severe hip osteoarthritis.

There are also non-drug treatments that can help:

• weight loss (normal weight people have a 20% risk of hip OA, overweight have 25% risk, and obese have 39% risk)

• water exercise programs

•  physical therapy (range of motion and strengthening exercises)

•  occupational therapy (assistive devices, joint protection)

• patient education

HIP2 Hip Osteoarthritis

Surgery is considered a last resort treatment option. Surgery is appropriate for patients with hip osteoarthritis who have failed other more conservative treatment options. Surgical procedures include:

• Arthroscopy – an arthroscope checks the condition of the articular cartilage

• Osteotomy – realigns angles of the hip joint

• Total hip replacement – new acetabular and femoral components are implanted

An accurate diagnosis and early treatment helps decrease pain and improve function for the hip osteoarthritis patient. As the condition advances, appropriate treatment changes can be made.

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Comments (2)

  1. I have a childhood hip desease and now the Dr in Jak said, I have OA, therefore, I wl come to visit you. In the last 2 years the pain is become often and I am doing gym everyday, also yoga since 6 years ago. I am worried that this will worsen my situation.
    Eventually, the pain will worsen from long time seating. But long walk wld give me a better effect. I dont feel pain in the hip.
    Pleas kindly advice…what i have to bring when i see you.

    I have only an old (5years ago) xray + MRI,
    I am now 63years, weight 53kg.

  2. Dear Dr Yip,
    I just want to re-confirm that I could see you on 14 Feb at 9:30am at your clinic. Your staff has called me to inform me that the appointment is okay.
    Many thanks,

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