Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Hip Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Hip)

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis means "joint inflammation." It causes pain and swelling in the body's joints, such as the knees or hips. There are many types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common. Also known as degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis, osteoarthritis is more likely to develop as people get older.

Osteoarthritis occurs when inflammation and injury to a joint cause a breaking down of cartilage tissue. In turn, that breakdown causes pain, swelling, and deformity. Cartilage is a firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in normal joints. It is primarily made up of water and proteins. The primary function of cartilage is to reduce friction in the joints and serve as a "shock absorber." The shock-absorbing quality of normal cartilage comes from its ability to change shape when compressed. It can do this because of its high water content. Although cartilage may undergo some repair when damaged, the body does not grow new cartilage after it is injured.

Recommended Related to Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Hyaluronic Acid Joint Injections

In the U.S., almost 21 million adults are living with osteoarthritis. And one of the body's critical joints, the knee, is the most frequently affected. More than 30% of people over 50 have knee osteoarthritis. So do a whopping 80% of those over 65. In fact, about 100,000 people in the U.S. can't get from their bed to the bathroom because of osteoarthritis of the knee. Getting hyaluronic acid joint injections is one treatment that may ease the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid...

Read the Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Hyaluronic Acid Joint Injections article > >

The changes in osteoarthritis usually occur slowly over many years. There are, though, occasional exceptions.

The two main types of osteoarthritis are:

  • Primary: More generalized osteoarthritis that affects the fingers, thumbs, spine, hips, and knees
  • Secondary: Osteoarthritis that occurs after injury or inflammation in a joint, or as a result of another condition that may affect the composition of the cartilage, such as hemochromatosis

 

How Does Osteoarthritis Affect the Hip Joint?

Patients who have osteoarthritis of the hip sometimes have problems walking. Diagnosis can be difficult at first. That's because pain can appear in different locations, including the groin, thigh, buttocks, or knee. The pain can be stabbing and sharp or it can be a dull ache, and the hip is often stiff.

What Causes Osteoarthritis of the Hip Joint?

The causes of osteoarthritis of the hip are not known. Factors that may contribute include joint injury, increasing age, and being overweight.

In addition, osteoarthritis can sometimes be caused by other factors:

  • The joints may not have formed properly.
  • There may be genetic (inherited) defects in the cartilage.
  • The person may be putting extra stress on his or her joints, either by being overweight or through activities that involve the hip.

What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Hip?

If you have any of the following symptoms of hip osteoarthritis, talk to your doctor:

  • Joint stiffness that occurs as you are getting out of bed
  • Joint stiffness after you sit for a long time
  • Any pain, swelling, or tenderness in the hip joint
  • A sound or feeling ("crunching") of bone rubbing against bone
  • Inability to move the hip to perform routine activities such as putting on your socks

How Is Osteoarthritis of the Hip Diagnosed?

There is no single test for diagnosing osteoarthritis, but often it is diagnosed by an abnormal X-ray that shows characteristic features such as narrowing of the joint and spurring of the joint margins. Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical examination. This will include a check of how your hip is functioning and may uncover loss of motion.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Ice pack on knee
Article
Sore feet with high heel shoes
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman with pain increased by rainy weather
Slideshow
Woman in gym
SLIDESHOW
 
Keep Joints Healthy
SLIDESHOW
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
HEALTH CHECK
 
close up of man with gut
Article
man knee support
Article
 
woman with cold compress
QUIZ
Man doing tai chi
Article
 
hand gripping green rubber ball
Slideshow
person walking with assistance
Slideshow