Arthritis in the Hip


Arthritis is a common hip problem. It can cause pain, stiffness, and make it hard to do everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs. The major types of arthritis that affect the hip are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common and is caused by the cartilage of the hip joint gradually wearing away and becoming frayed. This can eventually result in bone rubbing on bone.


The diagnoses can be made by a physical examination. Other tests which may help your doctor confirm your diagnosis include X-rays and MRI.

Treatment Options

As with other arthritic conditions, initial treatment of arthritis of the hip is nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend making some lifestyle modifications to protect your hip and slow the progress of arthritis. Physical therapy maybe recommended to help increase range of motion and flexibility as well as help strengthen the muscles in your leg. Using devices such as a cane can be helpful or long-handled reacher to pick up low-lying objects can help you avoid movements that cause pain.

There are several types of medications that are useful in treating arthritis of the hip. Because people respond differently to medications, your doctor will work closely with you to determine the medications and dosages that are safe and effective for you. Over-the-counter medications, cortisone injections, as well as alternative therapies may be recommended.

Patients with advanced arthritis of the hip may be candidates for either total hip replacement or hip resurfacing. Each of these procedures is a type of hip replacement, but there are important differences. There are several advantages to each approach.Your orthopedic surgeon will talk with you about the different procedures and which operation would be best for you.

Hip Resurfacing

The femoral head is not removed but is instead trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering. The socket is removed and replaced with a metal shell, just as in a total hip replacement. Unlike hip replacement, hip resurfacing is not suitable for all patients. A comprehensive evaluation by your orthopedic surgeon will help you determine if you are a good candidate for hip resurfacing.

Learn more about hip resurfacing.

Total Hip Replacement

In a total hip replacement, the femoral head and the damaged socket are both removed and replaced with a combination of metal, plastic, or ceramic components.

Learn more about total hip replacement.

Revision Hip Replacement

This means that part or all of your previous hip replacement needs to be revised. This operation varies from very minor adjustments to larger operations replacing portions of the old hip replacement and possibly replacing more native material.

Learn more about revision hip replacement.

Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength in your hip and to restore range of motion. After your procedure, you may need to use a cane, crutches, or a walker for a time.