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What is Hip Osteoarthritis? Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What is Hip Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease takes place when the cartilage in a joint starts to break down, and the bones in it grow spurs or osteophytes. Even if fresh cartilage cells should grow in place of deteriorated cartilage, the regrowth is usually rough, and together with bone spurs causes bones to grate against each other.

A/Professor Andrew Dutton Hip Osteoarthritis Illustration

Because of this, and because ligaments and tendons become stretched in trying to make up for the joint’s deficiencies, the joint can become swollen or deformed and cause pain.

Hip Osteoarthritis is likely to develop because the hip supports the body’s weight. As one of the body’s biggest joints, a hip with osteoarthritis can really slow a person down and interfere with everyday activities.


Patients struggling with pain and functional issues of the hip due to degenerative bone disease can find relief in the right treatment. Consult A/Professor Andrew Quoc Dutton today, a Harvard fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon practising at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore. He has subspecialty interests in arthroscopic/keyhole surgery, sports injuries, and hip replacements.


Frequently Asked Questions on Hip Osteoarthritis

This condition usually occurs in people aged 50 and older, although it is possible for those who are younger to develop Hip Osteoarthritis, too. Some people may also develop Hip Osteoarthritis because of heredity, or because of another condition like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or poorly aligned bones. Others may also develop it because of congenital hip dislocation or deformity.

Athletes who play contact sports like football and hockey also have a higher risk of developing Hip Osteoarthritis, as do people who have broken or injured their hips in an accident or had hip surgery. Women are also more likely to develop it than men.

Apart from the hip, people with Hip Osteoarthritis may experience pain in the groin, thigh or buttocks, and sometimes even in the knee, not just during sports or strenuous activities but even when getting out of bed. Walking becomes painful for them, causing them to limp, and they become less able to move the hip. They may also feel the bones in their hip grating against each other.

The goal in treating Hip Osteoarthritis is to slow the deterioration of the hip down, and to preserve the hip as much as possible overall. This is why treatment for Hip Osteoarthritis should start as soon as possible.

Non-surgical treatments include physical therapy that focuses on lessening the weight or pressure being placed on the hip. Using exercise routines and manual therapy, a physical therapist can help strengthen the muscles around the hip and show you how to use a cane or a walker for extra support.

You may also have to avoid doing certain activities that can stress the hip like golf, jogging or tennis. Instead, you can do exercises like swimming, riding a stationary bike, yoga or tai chi. You may likewise use special shoe inserts that lessen the impact of walking on the hip. Losing excess weight can also go a long way in helping to manage pain, as well as making sure you get enough rest.

Medications like analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs may also be taken to reduce the pain from Hip Osteoarthritis. Some people may even be able to take disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs. There are also creams and gels that may be applied to the hip to ease pain, as well as hot or cold compresses.

Injected steroids or cortisone may likewise be given to lessen pain, swelling and stiffness, while injected hyaluronic acid can help to lubricate the hip. A study says that injected autologous conditioned serum is also effective in reducing pain.

For some people, non-surgical treatments may be effective for several years, but there may come a time when a person may have recourse to surgical treatments if the non-surgical options become less or hardly effective. These treatments include Hip Arthroscopy and Hip Replacement, as well as Osteotomy or bone realignment.

If hip replacement was done to treat Hip Osteoarthritis, there is a possibility that the hip might be dislocated, although this occurs less frequently now with today’s prostheses. One leg might also turn out shorter than the other after surgery. There is also the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus, infection, bleeding and blood vessel or artery damage.

Singapore Hip

In diagnosing and determining the proper treatment for Hip Osteoarthritis, the surgeon will examine the hip using much the same methods as those used for Knee Osteoarthritis. He will observe the way you walk, whether your hip feels tender, whether you experience crepitus or a grating feeling inside your hip or, when pressure is put on your hip, you feel any pain.

Tell the surgeon about your symptoms, including when the pain and swelling starts or flares up, and how they affect your day-to-day life. Also let him know about any medications or supplements you’re already taking, or any other medical conditions you have. You should also give the surgeon details of your immediate family’s medical history.

To lessen the risk of a replacement hip becoming dislocated and to facilitate your recovery, be sure to follow the post-surgical care instructions that will be given you, which may include using crutches, a cane or a walker. Your overall recovery time and physical therapy programme will depend on the kind of surgery you had.

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Don’t just brush it off and risk the chance of compromising your movement and interupting your daily activities. Get it checked today for the right intervention the soonest possible time. Book your appointment with Dr. Dutton, here.

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