Understanding Degenerative Joint Disease and Inflammation in the Hip

degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease of the hip can seriously decrease your quality of life. This article will explore both how degenerative joint disease and inflammation can affect the hip and what treatments are available. 

What causes degenerative joint disease in the hip?

The hip is a complex joint that allows you to move your legs and walk normally. The joint is composed of the ball of the top of the femur, the socket of the pelvis bone, and then articular cartilage which coats both the ball and socket of the joint, allowing for smooth hip movements.

Degenerative joint disease (commonly known as osteoarthritis) occurs when the cartilage that normally protects the joint begins to deteriorate and wear away. The femur and pelvis bones begin to rub against each other and can sometimes develop bony bumps, or osteophytes. This deterioration can lead to inflammation in the joint, which often produces considerable pain and stiffness that makes it hard to move.

Common causes for degenerative joint disease can include

  •       Age: older adults are more susceptible to degenerative joint disease
  •       Being overweight or obese
  •       Family history of arthritis
  •       Frequent activity that puts pressure on the hip joint
  •       Prior injury to the hip joint

Each of these factors can increase your risk of developing degenerative joint disease.

degenerative joint disease

What are the symptoms of degenerative joint disease in the hip?

Osteoarthritis in the hip can lead to a range of frustrating and often debilitating symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of degenerative joint disease in the hip:

  •       Pain in the hip joint (often the pain will get worse after sitting for a while or first thing in the morning)
  •       Stiffness in the hip
  •       Grinding sound from the hip joint
  •       Swelling or inflammation of the hip joint
  •       Difficulty moving around or walking

The condition will continue to get worse over time, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be time to seek treatment. 

How is degenerative joint disease in the hip diagnosed?

Degenerative joint disease is often diagnosed through a couple methods. First, the doctor will speak with you about your and your family’s medical history and then will physically examine your hip for signs of tenderness, injury, or a limited range of motion.

To confirm an osteoarthritis diagnosis, the doctor will also likely order an X-ray of the affected hip to examine the bone structures of the joint. An arthritic hip will show little distance between the ball and socket of the joint and may even show bone spurs or other problematic bone changes.

In some cases, your doctor may conduct an MRI or CT scan to examine the hip’s surrounding soft tissues structures. 

How is degenerative joint disease in the hip treated?

If left untreated, degenerative joint disease will get worse over time. Luckily, it can be treated in a number of ways to relieve some of the pain and discomfort.

Here are some of the most common nonsurgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the hip:

  •       Reducing high-impact activities
  •       Weight loss that can relieve pressure on the joint
  •       Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  •       Physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen the affected hip

In more extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pain of a hip with degenerative joint disease. The two most common procedures to resolve osteoarthritis in the hip are:

Hip resurfacing: In this procedure, the damaged part of the pelvis bone is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The head of the femur bone is simply coated with a metal cap so that the joint can now function smoothly again.

Total hip replacement: The damaged bone and cartilage in the pelvis is replaced with a metal shell, and the head of the femur is also completely removed and replaced with an artificial joint structure often made of metal or plastic.

Treating degenerative joint disease in the hip at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants

Degenerative joint disease in the hip can lead to serious consequences if left untreated. At Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we understand how frustrating the pain and debilitation of arthritis can be. Our team of friendly, experienced orthopaedic specialists and surgeons is ready to help you get back to doing what you love.

Book an appointment with us today!

Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.