Signs You Might Have Hip Arthritis

April 10, 2020

Inflammation of the joints is known as arthritis. In particular, hip arthritis causes the joints in the hips to swell and become painful. It mainly causes issues with mobility, making it difficult to perform day-to-day tasks. However, if hip arthritis is caught early, it is still possible to have a normal quality of life. Diagnosing hip arthritis early prevents severe damage to occur to the joints, which is why it is essential to look out for signs of hip arthritis.

The hip is basically a ball-and-socket joint covered by articular cartilage as a slippery tissue. It is because of this cartilage that the bones can move over a smooth surface without causing friction. The functionality of the hip joint is compromised because of arthritis, causing pain and stiffness. In fact, it is quite common to have hip arthritis in the joints of both legs. However, arthritis is unlikely to affect both hip joints, in the same manner. Mostly, one hip joint tends to be worse as compared to the other.

The bad news is that arthritis itself cannot be cured. However, there are treatment options available for managing the symptoms. Options include medication, avoiding specific activities and even joint replacement surgery. You need to consult with your orthopaedist to know which treatment option is right for you.

What are the types of hip arthritis?

More than 100 types of arthritis can affect joints. The 3 main types of hip arthritis include osteoarthritis. Psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis: When it comes to arthritis of the hip, the most common type is osteoarthritis. It is also known as age-related arthritis or degenerative joint disease. The condition usually develops when people get older. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear of the joints, causing damage to the cartilage over time. You have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis if you have had joint trauma, are obese or have a structural issue with your hip joint.
  • Inflammatory arthritis: Another type of arthritis that commonly affects the hip joint is inflammatory arthritis. As the name would suggest, it causes inflammation of the hip joint and the surrounding hip joint. While such arthritis shows up in people of all ages, the symptoms frequently start during childhood itself. Types of inflammatory arthritis of the hip include:
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Ankylosing spondylitis.
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Psoriatic arthritis: This kind of arthritis is related to psoriasis, a skin condition that can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. Mostly, people develop this kind of arthritis after they are diagnosed with the skin condition.

How do you know you have arthritis of the hip?

The most common indication that you might have arthritis is the inability or having difficulty with specific routine tasks. This can include something as basic as putting on your shoes and socks. Performing these tasks requires a particular range of motion of your hip joints. If you have arthritis of the hip, you are most likely to lose this range of motion. You may not feel much pain doing these activities; it might just become a bit more difficult than it used to.

Knowing since when you started having issues with some common tasks is a good parameter to determine how long the condition has affected you. It is possible for hip arthritis to have a rapid onset and thereafter deteriorate the hips’ range of motion rapidly. It can take as few as 24 months to need replacement from the first sign you notice.

So, apart from having difficulties performing regular tasks, what are the common symptoms you should be aware of?  Here are a few signs of hip arthritis, regardless of their type:

  • Pain in the thigh or groin radiating to your outer thigh, buttocks or knee
  • Pain that worsens after sitting for some time or in the morning
  • Vigorous activities resulting in flare-ups
  • Difficulty walking due to pain or limping
  • Locking or sticking of the hip joint
  • More pain when the weather is rainy
  • Pain while leaning over
  • Difficult to get out of the car
  • Movement causing a grinding noise.

In most cases, these symptoms tend to deteriorate over time, which is why it is essential to get medical attention sooner rather than later.


Blog Written By:

Dr. Kunal Makhija

Consultant – Orthopaedics

Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Chembur