Understanding Hip Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Hip osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease affecting the hip joint, causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. The condition is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage cushioning the joint, causing friction and damage to the bones. This condition affects millions worldwide (particularly those over 50) and is one of the most common causes of hip pain and disability.

Understanding hip osteoarthritis is essential as it can impact a person’s quality of life, affecting their ability to perform daily activities. The condition can lead to depression and social isolation, limiting a person’s ability to participate in social activities.

By educating ourselves about the condition, we can work towards better management and treatment of this common and debilitating joint disease. Let’s discuss the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis in detail below.

Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis

Here are some of the most common hip osteoarthritis symptoms discussed below:

  • Pain in the Hip Joint

It is undoubtedly one of the common symptoms of hip osteoarthritis. The patient can feel the pain in the hip joint, groin, thigh, or buttocks. The condition is accompanied by a dull ache or sharp pain that worsens with activity and eases with rest. 

  • Stiffness and Limited Range of Motion

Osteoarthritis can cause the joint to become stiff and inflexible. The stiffness and limited range of motion can be troublesome in the morning or after a period of inactivity.

  • Swelling and Tenderness

Inflammation is a common osteoarthritis symptom that causes swelling and tenderness in the affected joint. The swelling may be visible or felt when touching the joint.

  • Crunching or Popping Sensation

As osteoarthritis progresses, the cartilage may wear out, causing joint friction. It causes a crunching or popping sensation in the hip joint, which limits mobility. 

Besides these symptoms, people with hip osteoarthritis may also experience joint weakness or instability and a grinding or grating sensation.

Now that we have discussed the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis, let’s discuss the causes below.

Causes of Hip Osteoarthritis

Hip osteoarthritis is a common condition that results in pain and reduced mobility in the hip joint. Several factors can contribute to the development of hip osteoarthritis, including,

  • Age

A common cause of hip osteoarthritis is aging. The joint’s cartilage is damaged with age, causing pain and stiffness. This joint tendency is called degenerative joint disease, and it can affect any joint in the body, including the hips.

  • Genetics

Some people are more predisposed to developing hip osteoarthritis due to their genetics. Research has shown that certain individuals are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis, which is usually present among family members.

  • Obesity

Obesity is a common hip osteoarthritis cause that can stress the hip joint and increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. The extra weight puts pressure on the cartilage in the joint, wearing it rather quickly.

  • Joint Injuries or Trauma

Injuries to the hip joint, including fractures or dislocation, can also increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. It is because the damage to the joint can cause the cartilage to break down more quickly, leading to pain and stiffness.

  • Repetitive Stress on the Hip Joint

Certain repetitive activities can stress the hip joint, increasing the risk of developing osteoarthritis. It is because the constant impact can cause the cartilage in the joint to wear down over time.

There are many treatment options for hip osteoarthritis, both non-surgical and surgical. So, let’s discuss them in detail below.

Treatment Options for Hip Osteoarthritis

Various hip osteoarthritis treatment options are available, ranging from non-surgical to surgical interventions. Let’s look at them one by one below:

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Medications

Pain relievers like acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, sodium, or aspirin can help alleviate pain and inflammation.

  • Physiotherapy

Physical therapy can improve flexibility, strength, and balance, reducing pain, improving the functionality and promoting optimum mobility.

  • Weight Loss

Being overweight can be detrimental to your hip health. That’s why it’s essential to reduce weight and the load, alleviating pain in the hip joint.

  • Assistive Devices

Using assistive devices such as canes, crutches, or walkers can help to reduce stress on the hip joint and improve mobility.

Surgical Treatments

  • Arthroscopy

In arthroscopy, a surgeon inserts a small camera into the hip joint to visualize the joint and make repairs or clean out debris. This procedure is typically done for milder cases of hip osteoarthritis.

  • Osteotomy

In an osteotomy, a surgeon removes or adds a wedge of bone to the hip joint to improve alignment and reduce stress on the joint. This procedure is typically done for younger patients with early-stage hip osteoarthritis.

  • Hip Replacement

In a hip replacement, a surgeon removes the damaged hip joint to replace it with an artificial metal, ceramic, or plastic joint. This procedure is typically done for severe cases of hip osteoarthritis that have not responded to non-surgical treatments. Hip replacement can provide significant pain relief and improved function, but it is major surgery with a long recovery period.


Hip osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects many people, especially older adults. It can cause significant pain and mobility problems, significantly impacting the quality of life. Early detection and treatment of hip osteoarthritis aren’t overstated. 

If you are experiencing hip osteoarthritis symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. Symptoms of hip osteoarthritis can include pain and stiffness in the hip joint, difficulty walking or climbing stairs, and decreased range of motion. Your doctor can help diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Many treatments are available for hip osteoarthritis, including medications, physical therapy, and surgery. With proper care and treatment, many people with hip osteoarthritis can manage their symptoms effectively and maintain mobility and quality of life.

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