Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and the most common form of hip arthritis
Hip Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis and is the result of a gradual wearing away of the cartilage in the hip joint. Read more about the Risk Factors, Symptoms, Approach to Diagnosis and Management (Nonsurgical and Surgical)

This is a degenerative type of arthritis and is a common condition that many people develop as they age. It is the result of a gradual wearing away of the cartilage in the hip joint. As this progresses, the joint space between the bones reduces and in advanced cases will result in bone rubbing on bone. This causes pain, stiffness and reduced mobility.

Hip joint with arthritis vs. a normal hip joint

Osteoarthritis diagram of the hip

Risk Factors for Hip Osteoarthritis

  • Increasing age
  • Previous injury or trauma to the hip joint
  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Gender – Postmenopausal women are at increased risk compared to men.
  • Increased weight
  • Structural or developmental abnormalities
  • Certain metabolic diseases – including diabetes and haemochromatosis


Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis

  • Pain in the hip joint, which may be aggravated with activity
  • Stiffness in the hip joint
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Tenderness around the hip joint
  • Grating sensation with use


Diagnosis of Hip Osteoarthritis

Your doctor or surgeon will take a history, conduct a physical examination and likely order an x-ray.

X-rays of an arthritic hip may show joint space narrowing and osteophyte formation (bone spurs), irregularities in the bone surface or sub-cortical cysts. X-ray is the most common modality used, however in certain cases CT or MRI scans may also be conducted.

X-ray of a normal hip (top) vs.  osteoarthritic hip (below)

normal hip xray
Osteoarthritis hip xray

Management of Hip Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is not reversible and will progress. Treatment options are categorised into nonsurgical and surgical. Nonsurgical treatments may help reduce the rate of progression. If the pain is severe and quality of life is significantly affected – then surgery will be the next step in management.



  • Activity modifications - reducing activities that may aggravate symptoms, this generally includes high impact exercises, running and jumping.
  • Exercise – these should be low impact activities such as water exercise or strengthening exercises.
  • Lifestyle modifications – weight loss can reduce the load and stress on the hip joint.
  • Physiotherapy
  • Medications, such as simple pain relief may be used.
  • Walking aids



Hip Replacement Surgery or hip arthroplasty is a procedure which replaces one or both ends of the damaged hip joint with artificial implants.

These implants have been in use for many decades and are monitored closely for any poor performing designs and early failures so that patients can feel reassured that the implants utilised today are of the highest quality and safety standards.

Arthritic femoral head (viewer discretion is advised, graphic image)


If you have exhausted your nonoperative management and are now considering surgery, please contact us and book an appointment to discuss this further.

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