Hip Arthritis

What is Hip Arthritis?

Hip arthritis is a condition that commonly affects the hip joint cartilage. In a healthy hip, a firm, rubbery material, known as articular cartilage, covers the bones and allows them to smoothly glide over each other.

When a hip is affected by arthritis, this layer of cartilage breaks down and causes pain, swelling and a reduction of motion.

What Causes Hip Arthritis?

Hip arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis. The exact causes of osteoarthritis in the hip are not known, however the following factors are known to contribute to the condition:
  • Having a joint injury
  • Undertaking activities which place extra stress on the hip
  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
Osteoarthritis usually occurs as a result of inflammation or injury, and it is more likely to develop as people get older. Hip arthritis typically develops slowly over many years, although there are some exceptions.

Occasionally, hip arthritis may also be the result of a joint that has not formed properly, or a genetic (inherited) condition that affects the cartilage in the hips.

Hip Arthritis Symptoms

The symptoms of hip arthritis include stiffness in the hip as well as either a sharp, stabbing pain, or a dull ache. Hip arthritis is often most noticeable when you walk, stand up from a seated position, climb stairs, or squat.

Diagnosing Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. This is because the pain can appear in different parts of the body, including the thigh, buttocks, knee or groin.

Hip Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Australia recommends regular exercise and weight loss as initial treatments for hip osteoarthritis. Low-impact activities such as swimming, walking and Tai Chi can be good options during the early stages of the condition.

Surgery for Hip Arthritis

If your hip pain is severely affecting your quality of life, your GP may recommend that you talk to one of our South Coast Orthopaedic surgeons about hip surgery. Most surgeries for hip arthritis aim to:
  • If your hip pain is severely affecting your quality of life, your GP may recommend that you talk to one of our South Coast Orthopaedic surgeons about hip surgery. Most surgeries for hip arthritis aim to:
  • Improve joint movement and flexibility to help you walk more comfortably
  • Improve the alignment of your joints
There are different types of surgeries for treatment of hip arthritis, the most common type which has stood the test of time is:
  • Joint Replacement (arthroplasty), involving the removal of the damaged joint surfaces and replacing them with metal, ceramic or plastic parts.