Hip Osteoarthritis

General Anatomy of the Hip

The hip is a deep “ball and socket” joint between the femur and the pelvis.    The “ball” side is from the femur inserted into socket of the pelvis.

The joint allows the leg to move in different directions relative to the pelvis including:  forward/backwards, sideways in/out, and rotating in and outwards.    

It is also a major weight-bearing joint for standing, walking, and running.


Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative joint disorder from wear and tear and typically affects repetitively used joints such as small joints of the hand and weight bearing joints including the hip.

Osteoarthritis refers to degenerative changes within the joint including cartilage, articulating surfaces of the bone, and ligaments which is often characterized by joint space narrowing and bone-on-bone.

Osteoarthritis differs from Rheumatology Arthritis in that the latter is a systemic inflammatory condition where a person’s immune systems fails to recognize its’ own joints and attacks them as if they are foreign matters.  Because of such acute attacks,   people with rheumatology arthritis can have acute swelling, inflammation, and pain.  It is an immunological disorder. This is contrasted with osteoarthritis where degenerative changes are local and are result of wear and tear.

Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis

Loss of Bone Density within the Bone

Osteoarthritis =  Wear & Tear between 2 Bones of a Joint     

Risk Factors

Wear and tear of the hip joint is usually caused by combination of factors including but not limited to:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Overweight
  • Overuse
  • Previous Trauma affecting Hip Joint Biomechanics
  • Shape/Alignment of Leg
  • Ethnicity

Common Symptoms

  • Pain in thigh, groin, buttock that is usually described as “Deep”
  • Morning Stiffness
  • Decreased Hip Movements
  • Decreased Strength & Weakness around Hip
  • Difficulties with Standing
  • Difficulties with Walking & Stairs

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnosis and severity of hip osteoarthritis can be established by x-rays.

Treatment options


Since osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative condition, there is no “cure” unless the joint is replaced surgically. However, due to the invasiveness of the procedures, surgery is only considered in severe cases where conservative treatment can no longer manage the signs and symptoms associated with Osteoarthritis.
The goal of conservative management is, therefore, to prevent further decline and maintain function. Since conservative management does not “fix” the underlying degeneration, recovery will likely plateau out at a certain level. Self-management is then used to maintain the current level of function to prevent decline.