Hip Osteoarthritis

Hip Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, though it may occur in younger people too.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the hip joint gradually wears away over time. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective joint space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, the damaged bones may start to grow outward and form bone spurs (osteophytes).

Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.


The most common symptom of hip osteoarthritis is pain. This develops slowly and worsens over time, although sudden onset is also possible. Pain and stiffness may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting for a while. Over time, painful symptoms may occur more frequently, including during rest or at night.

Additional symptoms may include: 

  • Pain in your groin or thigh that radiates to your buttocks / knee
  • Pain that flares up with vigorous activity
  • Stiffness in the hip joint that makes it difficult to walk or bend
  • “Locking” or “sticking” of the joint, and a grinding noise (crepitus) during movement caused by loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue interfering with the smooth motion of the hip
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip that affects the ability to walk and may cause a limp
  • Increased joint pain with rainy weather


Osteoarthritis has no single specific cause, but there are certain factors that may make you more likely to develop the disease, including:

  • Increasing age
  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Previous injury to the hip joint
  • Obesity
  • Improper formation of the hip joint at birth, a condition known as developmental dysplasia of the hip

You can still develop osteoarthritis even if you don’t have any of the risk factors listed above.

Physical examination

During your appointment, we will talk with you about your symptoms and medical history, conduct a physical examination, and possibly order diagnostic tests, such as x-rays.

During the physical examination, we will look for: 

  • Tenderness around the hip
  • Range of passive (assisted) and active (self-directed) motion
  • Crepitus (a grating sensation inside the joint) with movement
  • Pain when pressure is placed on the hip
  • Problems with your gait (the way you walk)
  • Any signs of injury to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the hip


    These imaging tests provide detailed pictures of dense structures, such as bones. X-rays of an arthritic hip may show a narrowing of the joint space, changes in the bone, and the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes).

    Other imaging tests. Occasionally, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a computerized tomography (CT) scan may be needed to better determine the condition of the bone and soft tissues of your hip.


    Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are a number of treatment options that will help relieve pain and improve mobility.

    Non-Surgical treatment

    As with other arthritic conditions, early treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip is nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend a range of non-surgical treatment options.  

    Lifestyle modifications. Some changes in your daily life can protect your hip joint and slow the progress of osteoarthritis. 

        • Minimizing activities that aggravate the condition, such as climbing stairs. 
        • Switching from high-impact activities (like jogging or tennis) to lower impact activities (like swimming or cycling) will put less stress on your hip. 
        • Losing weight can reduce stress on the hip joint, resulting in less pain and increased function.

    Physical therapy

    Specific exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility, as well as strengthen the muscles in your hip and leg.

    Assistive devices

    Using walking supports like a cane, crutches, or a walker can improve mobility and independence. Using assistive aids like a long-handled reacher to pick up low-lying things will help you avoid movements that may cause pain.


    If your pain affects your daily routine, or is not relieved by other nonsurgical methods, we may add medications to your treatment plan. 

    • Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain reliever that can be effective in reducing mild arthritis pain. Like all medications, however, over-the-counter pain relievers can cause side effects and interact with other medications you are taking. Be sure to discuss potential side effects with your doctor. 

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDs include naproxen and ibuprofen. Other NSAIDs are available by prescription. 

    • Corticosteroids (also known as cortisone) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can be taken by mouth or injected into the painful joint.

    Surgical treatment

    We may recommend surgery if your pain from arthritis causes disability and is not relieved with nonsurgical treatment. 

    Total hip replacement. We will remove both the damaged acetabulum and femoral head, and then position new metal, plastic or ceramic joint surfaces to restore the function of your hip. 

    Hip resurfacing

    In this hip replacement procedure, the damaged bone and cartilage in the acetabulum (hip socket) is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The head of the femur, however, is not removed, but instead capped with a smooth metal covering.


    Either the head of the thighbone or the socket is cut and realigned to take pressure off of the hip joint. This procedure is used only rarely to treat osteoarthritis of the hip.


    Although complications are possible with any surgery, Dr Al-Khateeb will take steps to minimize the risks. The most common complications of surgery include:

    • Infection 
    • Excessive bleeding 
    • Blood clots 
    • Hip dislocation 
    • Limb length inequality 
    • Damage to blood vessels or arteries


    After any type of surgery for osteoarthritis of the hip, there is a period of recovery. Recovery time and rehabilitation depends on the type of surgery performed. 

    We will recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength in your hip and restore range of motion. After your procedure, you may need to use a cane, crutches, or a walker for a time. 

    In most cases, surgery relieves the pain of osteoarthritis and makes it possible to perform daily activities more easily. 


    Clemenceau Medical Center Hospital, Dubai

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    055 544 4934