Also known as degenerative or “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis of the hip typically occurs in adults aged 45 and older, when the cartilage that cushions the joint breaks down and eventually wears away. Characterized by pain and stiffness, severe cases can be profoundly debilitating.

Arthritis frequently occurs in individuals who have a family history of the disease and sometimes develops due to subtle irregularities in how the hip developed at an early age. Hip arthritis is more common in patients who are obese. Other factors that may contribute include trauma to the hip and fractures in the bone but many people get hip arthritis who have no risk factors.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain that flares with activity and lessens with rest

  • Hip stiffness and reduced range of motion

  • Discomfort and stiffness in the groin, buttock or thigh, particularly in the morning

  • Walking with a limp

  • Knee pain referred from the hip

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the smooth layer of tissue that lines the joint called the synovial membrane becomes inflamed and thickened. Meant to lubricate the joint, the thickened synovium actually damages the cartilage, causing pain and stiffness.


Early non-surgical treatment can be effective at reducing pain and disability and slowing the progression of the disease. Surgery may be considered if the condition is severe.

Conservative Treatments

  • Weight Loss – In overweight patients, weight loss can have a very positive impact. The less weight the hip joint has to bear, the better the hip will feel.

  • Rest and Activity Modification – Limiting certain activities may be necessary, and learning new exercise methods can help with mobility and flexibility.

  • Walking Aids – The use of a cane, crutch or walker will reduce the demand placed on the arthritic joint.

  • Physical Therapy – Strengthening of the muscles around the hip joint can help decrease the strain on the hip. Keeping the muscles mobile and flexible is important in maintaining hip function. Physical therapy that includes gentle, regular exercise like swimming, water aerobics or cycling may be beneficial.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications –  Physicians recommend using prescription or nonprescription anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDs) to treat pain and inflammation.

Total Hip Replacement  Surgeryhip replacement

If conservative treatments fail to bring relief; if hip pain is impacting normal daily functioning, total hip replacement surgery (arthroplasty) may be recommended.

Hip replacement surgery may be an option if:

  • Simple daily activities such as walking or bending are impaired

  • Hip pain is significant and prevents sleep

  • Stiffness in a hip and or groin limits mobility

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are not effective

  • Pain medications do not tolerate well

  • Other treatments including physical therapy are no longer beneficial

Surgeons perform the surgery most often under regional anesthesia. The surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone, then positions new metal, plastic or ceramic joint surfaces to reconstruct the joint.

An artificial joint is comprised of two basic components: the ball (made of a highly polished strong metal or ceramic material) and the socket (a durable cup of plastic, ceramic or metal). Special surgical cement is frequently used to secure the artificial joint in place.

Sometimes in younger, more active patients, surgeons use a non-cemented type of prosthesis. Further, this prosthesis is designed so that the bone will grow into and integrates with the porous surface of the implant. In some cases, a combination of a cemented ball and a non-cemented socket is used.

Minimal Incision Surgery

Orthopaedic surgeons are constantly working to develop new techniques to improve joint replacement surgery. With new minimally invasive and small incision surgery techniques surgeons cut less tissue which allows for quicker, less painful recovery and a more rapid return to activities.