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What Does Arthritis in the Hip Feel Like and What Could an Orthopedic Doctor Recommend to Help Me?

Fri, Mar 11, 2022

Almost 60 million Americans have arthritis, which is inflammation in one or more joints. It is not only painful but can also lead to limited movement in the affected joint. Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can spread to tissues and organs far beyond the joints.

In the most common type of arthritis, which is osteoarthritis, there is a loss and wearing-down of the protective cartilage in the joint. This causes a bone in the joint to rub against the other bone during movement, causing considerable pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Since arthritis typically starts with minor discomfort that gradually gets worse over time, it pays to know the signs and symptoms of arthritis so it can be treated as early and effectively as possible. The joints which are most commonly reported to have arthritis are the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle, so here we’ll talk about hip arthritis and what a Raleigh orthopedic doctor can do for you.

Common Types of Arthritis in the Hip

There is more than one type of arthritis that can affect the hip joint, and knowing which type you have will affect your treatment options. Three of the main types of hip arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – Also known as just “arthritis” because this type is so common, osteoarthritis occurs when there is a deterioration of cartilage tissue in the joint. Hip arthritis is likely to develop as one gets older, but it can also be caused by repetitive motions (such as in sports or active professions), a previous injury or trauma to the hip, or if you are overweight.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – RA occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lubricating synovial tissues, including those in your joints. Because there are synovial fluids and tissues throughout the body, rheumatoid arthritis can affect many parts of the body.
  • Psoriatic arthritisPsoriatic arthritis occurs when the skin condition psoriasis spreads to the joints.

All of these types of arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and a lack of mobility in the hip. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the joints can become disfigured. In all cases of hip arthritis, orthopedic treatment is imperative in order to maintain mobility.

How an Orthopedic Doctor Diagnoses Hip Arthritis

You may already know that you have hip arthritis because of hip pain, stiffness, and limited motion. You might even feel a catching or clicking sensation within the hip. The pain usually worsens when the hip joint is strained after walking long distances, standing for extended periods of time, or climbing stairs. Often, the pain is felt in the groin (referred pain), but it also may be felt on the side of the hip or in the buttock.

To make a firm diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms, your orthopedic doctor may ask you to have an X-ray, MRI, or another type of medical scan. This will be able to detect loss of cartilage, damage to the end of a bone in a joint, or other issues.

Orthopedic Treatment for Arthritis of the Hip

The only cure for hip arthritis is a total hip replacement, and this may provide relief for several decades. (Most patients say it’s worth it, even if the hip replacement itself can wear out over time and pain could come back eventually.)

Depending on your age, health, lifestyle, and the severity of your condition, your orthopedic doctor may recommend one or a combination of the following treatment options:

  • Pain management through medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Lifestyle changes to reduce strain on your hip
  • Weight loss to reduce the force placed on your hip joint
  • The use of assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, to alleviate pressure on the hip when walking
  • Hip replacement surgery

A hip replacement involves your orthopedic surgeon removing the damaged bone tissues of the hip and replacing them with bio-grade prosthetic materials. Your new hip will work almost exactly like your original hip did, before arthritis, as far as having a smooth movement without the severe pain of arthritis.

Orthopedic Doctors in Raleigh, Apex, and Brier Creek, North Carolina

You don’t have to live with the pain and limited mobility of hip arthritis. Our own board-certified, fellowship-trained, and Duke-educated orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett Gilbert can help you achieve lasting relief.

Dr. Gilbert’s goal is to provide compassionate care, technical expertise, and personalized attention to patients with hip or knee issues. Our clinic offers effective orthopedic medical care for a wide variety of knee and hip conditions using state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment options, including:

  • Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement
  • MAKOplasty Robotic-Assisted Joint Replacement
  • Hip Revision Surgery
  • Outpatient Hip Replacement

To learn more about these effective treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gilbert by calling our office today at (919) 788-8797 or you can request an appointment with Dr. Gilbert using our appointment request form, or you can self-schedule your appointment here. We look forward to helping you get back to your active lifestyle without joint pain!

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