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What Is Osteoarthritis of the Hips?

The hips are weight-bearing joints that are particularly prone to the effects of wear and tear. Osteoarthritis of the hips is a common age-related condition that causes the smooth cartilage joint lining to gradually break down and wear away, leaving the bone surfaces exposed. Left unprotected, the hip bones can begin to grind painfully together during movement. In response, the body may produce bony deposits (bone spurs) to shore up the weakened joints.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hips?

Because hip osteoarthritis typically progresses very gradually, the first signs may go unnoticed. In addition to general hip pain and decreased range of motion, the most common symptoms include:

  • Hip pain that flares with intense activity and improves with rest
  • Hip stiffness that worsens with inactivity, such as sleeping or extended sitting
  • Pain that radiates from the hip to the thigh and knee
  • Aching and stiffness in the groin, buttocks or thigh
  • Difficulty rotating the hip joint; e.g., extending the leg straight back or pointing the foot inward
  • Chronic hip swelling
  • A “crunching” or “popping” sensation caused by bone-on-bone friction during movement
  • Limping and difficulty walking

How is osteoarthritis of the hips treated?

The natural aging process cannot be halted, and the resulting arthritic changes in the hip joint cannot be reversed. However, appropriate treatment can often slow the progression of osteoarthritis. The goal of many potentially effective approaches, such as weight loss and muscle strengthening, is to reduce the weight load on the hips. To address moderate to severe symptoms, medical treatments such as medications, injections or surgery may be considered.

An optimal treatment plan for osteoarthritis of the hips will account for lifestyle factors and balance the need for activity with rest. In general, the sooner treatment begins, the better the likelihood of preserving joint integrity.

At Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, we offer a full range of conservative and surgical therapies for osteoarthritis of the hips. We take a conservative approach to treatment, helping our patients find the least invasive option that will effectively meet their needs. For more information about our practice or to schedule a personal consultation at one of our offices in the Houston, TX, area, contact us today.