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Hip Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that affects the entire joint including the bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles.  The effects of the disease include:

  • Inflammation within the joint.
  • Development of bony spurs surrounding the joint.
  • Wearing away of the cartilage that provides cushioning to the joint.
  • Deterioration of the ligaments (connects bone to bone) and tendons (connects muscle to bone) of the joint.

Osteoarthritis tends to progress slowly over time, over many months and years.  Although it can occur at any age, it is more common in people over 40 years of age.  Increased risk factors for the development of hip osteoarthritis include being overweight, previous injury to the hip joint, heavy manual work and a family history of OA.

Symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include pain and stiffness of the hip.  The pain initially occurs with activity but later on in the disease process it may also occur at rest.  The pain typically occurs in the groin but may also present at the front of the thigh (patients may think that they have a knee problem when in fact the pain is from their hip).  The stiffness may be worse first thing in the morning and may restrict movements such as moving your leg across the body and inward rotation of the leg.  The pain and stiffness may start to impact on a persons ability to perform daily living tasks such as walking and stair climbing, getting shoes and socks on and off, and leisure pursuits such as hiking, cycling, playing golf and playing tennis.

Hip osteoarthritis is usually diagnosed following a comprehensive assessment by your orthopaedic surgeon in conjunction with a hip x-ray.

Non-operative treatment of hip osteoarthritis includes:

  • Losing weight if applicable.
  • Taking pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications such as Panadol Osteo.
  • Physiotherapy can assist in restoring hip range of motion and strength of your hip muscles, as well as prescribe an appropriate exercise program to remain active.
  • Use of a walking aid for support.

Hip Joint Replacement Surgery is a surgical treatment option for those who have severe pain and stiffness impacting on their ability to perform daily living tasks and for whom non-operative treatments have not had the required effect on symptoms and task independence.