Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms and How To Test for Hip Osteoarthritis.
If you haven’t already please read What is Osteoarthritis as this explains what happens to a joint when it degenerates. This page explains specific hip osteoarthritis symptoms and at the end suggests a test you can try.
This advice is not meant replace a visit to a health care professional and it is important you do pop along and get properly diagnosed in case you have a different type of arthritis. Remember different types of arthritis get treated differently so you need to check which type you have.
Hip osteoarthritis is very common. Research suggests 1 in 7 older adults suffer from hip osteoarthritis symptoms.
First a quick anatomy lesson.
The hip is the joint between the top of the thigh bone (the femur) and the pelvis. The femur sits in a socket called the acetabulum. It is held there with ligaments and is tremendously strong. However as it is one of the main weight bearing joints it is prone to wear and tear.
Osteoarthritis is a wearing of the articular cartilage. This is the cushioning material that covers the end of the bones and it acts as a shock absorber and prevents friction on the bone. It has no nerves in it but bone does, so as the cartilage wears the joint becomes painful. In severe cases, bone rubs on bone and eventually the head of the femur can go clean through the acetabulum. This is the time to get a joint replacement and no amount of other therapies will help.
Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms
The most common of the hip osteoarthritis symptoms is local pain felt in the groin (not around the lower back region or over the top of your buttock). Your hip joint is on the front of your pelvis and not, as is commonly thought, at the back- this is your sacroiliac joint. The pain is felt when you are exercising or are active and decreases and stops when you rest. The pain may spread down the inside, outside, front or back of your thigh, usually as a deep ache. In some this ache may go past the knee into the lower leg as well.
Almost everyone with hip osteoarthritis symptoms will suffer stiffness in the morning or after inactivity and this is often the first sign that something is wrong. How long this lasts for is a good indicator how severe the degeneration is.
One of the more alarming hip osteoarthritis symptoms is that your hip joint may have what is called ‘crepitus’ which means it grates, cracks or pops on certain movements. These can be, but are not always, painful and most of this noise is really gas popping in the synovial (lubricating) fluid in the joint rather than the actual bones!
Another common hip osteoarthritis symptoms is decreased range of motion, most commonly in the sideways (abduction) movement.
To test this movement try lying on your back and bend both your knees. Let your testing knee fall sideways or outwards- it should almost go flat if not then it is restricted with hip osteoarthritis.
So if you have any of these hip osteoarthritis symptoms it really is a good idea to get properly checked out by your Doctor to confirm osteoarthritis rather than another type of arthritis.