Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the hip joint. As the cartilage deteriorates, it causes pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain: Deep, aching pain in the hip, groin, buttocks, or thigh, which may worsen with activity.
  • Stiffness: Reduced range of motion, particularly after periods of inactivity.
  • Swelling: Mild swelling around the hip joint.
  • Crepitus: A grinding or clicking sensation with joint movement.
  • Decreased Mobility: Difficulty walking, standing, or performing everyday activities.

Cause & Anatomy

  • Aging: The most common cause of osteoarthritis, as the wear and tear on the joints accumulate over time.
  • Genetics: Family history of osteoarthritis can increase the risk.
  • Joint Injury: Previous injuries to the hip joint can lead to osteoarthritis later in life.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on the hip joints.
  • Repetitive Stress: Occupations or activities that place continuous stress on the hip joint.
  • Structural Abnormalities: Conditions like hip dysplasia can predispose an individual to OA.

Anatomy of the Hip Joint

  • Femur (Thighbone): The upper part of the femur includes the femoral head, which fits into the acetabulum to form the hip joint.
  • Acetabulum: A socket in the pelvis where the femoral head sits, forming the hip joint.
  • Cartilage: A smooth, rubbery tissue that covers the ends of the bones in the joint, allowing for smooth movement.
  • Synovial Fluid: A lubricating fluid within the joint that reduces friction and helps with movement.
  • Ligaments and Muscles: Provide stability and facilitate movement of the hip joint.


  • Assessment of symptoms, activity level, and any history of hip problems.
  • Physical examination to evaluate pain, range of motion, and joint function.
  • X-rays: To detect joint space narrowing, bone spurs, and other changes in the hip joint.
  • MRI: Occasionally used to provide a more detailed view of the soft tissues, cartilage, and bone.



Non-Surgical Treatment

Lifestyle Modifications:

  • Weight loss to reduce stress on the hip joint.
  • Activity modification to avoid activities that exacerbate pain.


  • Pain Relievers: Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.
  • Topical Treatments: Creams or gels applied to the skin over the hip joint.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injections to reduce inflammation and pain.

Physical Therapy:

  • Exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Techniques to improve gait and reduce pain during movement.

Assistive Devices:

  • Use of canes, walkers, or orthotic devices to support mobility and reduce joint stress.

Surgical Treatments

Hip Arthroscopy:

  • Minimally invasive procedure to remove loose fragments or repair damaged cartilage.


  • Surgical realignment of the hip bones to improve joint mechanics.

Hip Resurfacing:

  • A bone-conserving procedure where the damaged surfaces of the hip joint are replaced with metal components.

Total Hip Replacement (Arthroplasty):

  • Replacement of the damaged hip joint with a prosthetic implant. This is typically considered when conservative treatments fail to provide relief.


Postoperative Care:

  • Pain management, wound care, and prevention of blood clots.
  • Early mobilization and use of assistive devices.

Physical Therapy:

  • Exercises to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Gradual return to daily activities and improved function.

Potential Complications

  • Joint Infection: Risk of infection at the surgical site.
  • Blood Clots: Risk of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
  • Implant Issues: Potential for loosening, wear, or failure of the hip implant over time.


  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Reducing stress on the hip joints.
  • Exercise Regularly: Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint to provide support.
  • Protect Your Joints: Avoid activities that place excessive stress on the hip joints.
  • Healthy Diet: Ensuring adequate intake of nutrients that support joint health, such as calcium and vitamin D.


How long does it take to recover from hip replacement surgery?
Recovery time varies, but most patients can return to normal activities within 3-6 months. Full recovery may take up to a year.

Can osteoarthritis of the hip be cured?
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed effectively with lifestyle changes, medications, physical therapy, and, if necessary, surgery.

Are there exercises I should avoid with hip osteoarthritis?
Avoid high-impact activities like running and jumping. Focus on low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, and walking.

Is hip replacement surgery safe?
Hip replacement surgery is generally safe and effective. However, like all surgeries, it carries risks, including infection, blood clots, and implant issues.

Can diet affect osteoarthritis of the hip?
Yes, a healthy diet can help manage osteoarthritis. Foods rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and essential nutrients can support joint health.

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