Symptoms of Hip Arthritis (2022)

Arthritis is a common cause of pain, inflammation, and stiffness around the hip joints, where the pelvis and legs meet. There are several different types of hip arthritis, and many factors can contribute to the various types, including genetics.

Hip arthritis symptoms commonly include pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility. The specific symptoms for the different hip arthritis conditions can sometimes overlap, which is why it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis.

Symptoms of Hip Arthritis (1)

Types of Hip Arthritis

A handful of different arthritis conditions commonly cause pain in the hip area:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of hip pain in adults, though it can also affect other joints, such as the hand or knee joints. Also called “wear-and-tear” arthritis, hip osteoarthritis is characterized by progressive wearing away of the joint cartilage. As the protective cartilage is worn away, bare bone is exposed in the joint, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that affects roughly 1.5 million adults in the United States. In people with RA, the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints. Like other forms of hip arthritis, RA causes different joints in the body to swell and become painful.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spinal joints and surrounding areas, mostly in men and young to middle-aged adults. Typically, pain and stiffness starts in the spine and can spread to other nearby body parts. Hip pain is usually one of the first noticeable symptoms in people with AS.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a form of lupus, is an autoimmune disease that can lead to joint inflammation and damage. People with lupus may have hip pain due to arthritis. They also have an increased risk of a condition called aseptic necrosis of the bone. This occurs more frequently in those patients taking high doses of steroids.
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, an itchy, painful skin condition. With PsA, the immune system attacks normal cells and tissue throughout the body, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hips or other parts of the body.

Common Symptoms

Although all of the various forms of hip arthritis usually come with some sort of pain, the type of pain may feel different or present differently, depending on the specific condition.

The primary symptom of hip arthritis is pain that can range from mild to severe and be described as aching, sharp, burning, throbbing, or dull, among other sensations. It’s also important to keep in mind that while pain is typically felt in the hip area, the exact location of the pain can vary.

Aside from pain, common symptoms can also include:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Stiffness in the hip area
  • Pain that spreads to the groin, buttock, lower back, thigh, or knee
  • Walking with a limp

In general, there are also some differences in pain felt between the two main categories of arthritis:

  • Inflammatory arthritis pain (the pain felt with AS, RA, PsA, and SLE) is often described as deep, sharp, stiff, burning, or tingling. Inflammatory pain usually eases with movement or activity, and may get worse with prolonged rest.
  • Osteoarthritis pain is commonly reported as an aching or soreness. This kind of pain typically gets worse with movement or activity, and improves with periods of rest.

Secondary Symptoms

All types of hip arthritis have the symptom of pain in common, but there are also additional symptoms that can be felt with each form of hip arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

In addition to the pain and stiffness that classifies hip osteoarthritis, patients report feeling an ache in the affected joints that can sometimes appear to be impacted by weather changes.

(Video) Signs and Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis

This condition can also cause restricted movement and, in some cases, a limp. In extreme cases, the affected hip can become fixed in a bent position, which makes movement extremely difficult.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Because RA is an autoimmune condition, it comes with several non-pain-related symptoms that aren’t always linked to the joints. For example, some patients with RA that has progressed report feeling stiff or sore when sitting down or bending over.

But there are also symptoms that affect the lungs, such as difficulty breathing deeply or catching the breath. In addition to hip pain, RA patients can develop lumps under the skin called rheumatoid nodules, usually on areas like the hands or elbows.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Some AK symptoms overlap with PsA symptoms, such as the swelling that comes along with the pain. This form of arthritis is considered to be chronic and debilitating, and in addition to joint pain, it can cause fatigue, eye inflammation, chest pain, and more rarely, heart or lung symptoms.

SLE

Along with joint pain, SLE patients report feeling muscle pain and weakness, in addition to tendonitis and bursitis, which also affect the joint area. Other symptoms commonly include extreme fatigue, weight loss, hair loss, appetite loss, and skin rash.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Accompanying the joint pain, swelling and stiffness experienced in the morning (or after a long period of rest) are major secondary symptoms associated with PsA. Patients also report experiencing fatigue, eye issues (like conjunctivitis or pink eye), and nail deformities.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Hip pain is fairly common among adults in the United States, and while it can sometimes improve on its own, experts recommend bringing it up to your healthcare provider to get a formal diagnosis.

Your primary care provider or healthcare professional may refer you to an orthopedic physician if your hip pain seems like it may be osteoarthritis, or a rheumatologist if your hip pain appears to be inflammatory like RA, PsA, AK, or SLE.

Be sure to mention whether your hip pain comes on suddenly, is gradual, or is sporadic. Hip arthritis symptoms tend to progress as the condition worsens—but they don’t always progress steadily with time, meaning that the pain intensity can change by the day, environment, or activity.

Seek immediate medical attention if your hip pain is sudden, severe, worsening, or if you’ve had an injury from falling or another trauma. You should also consider seeking urgent care if you experience any of the following along with your hip pain:

  • Fever
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Inability to walk or bear weight
  • Warmth radiating from the hip area
(Video) 3 Most Common Signs of Hip Arthritis

A Word From Verywell

A common myth when it comes to hip arthritis pain is that it only affects older adults, but it can happen in younger populations too.

Research shows that in young people, the reporting and diagnosis of osteoarthritis can often be delayed or difficult to determine due to factors like a high tolerance for pain or wanting to return to sports or activities quickly.

If you experience hip pain, you might be tempted to believe that it’s only temporary and self-treat by resting, getting massages, or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. While these approaches may bring relief in the short term, it’s essential to get a healthcare professional’s opinion to fully address the underlying cause with medical treatment.

12 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Pelt CE, Erickson JA, Peters CL, Anderson MB, Cannon-Albright L. A heritable predisposition to osteoarthritis of the hip. J Arthroplasty. 2015;30(9 Suppl):125-129. doi:10.1016/j.arth.2015.01.062

  2. The Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid arthritis.

  3. The Arthritis Foundation. Axial spondylitis.

  4. Olesińska M, Saletra, A. Quality of life in systemic lupus erythematosus and its measurement. Reumatologia. 2018;56(1):45–54.doi:10.5114/reum.2018.74750

  5. Kim Y, Oh HC, Park JW, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory joint disease. Hip Pelvis. 2017;29(4):211–222. doi:10.5371/hp.2017.29.4.211

  6. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Hip osteoarthritis. 2019.

  7. The Arthritis Foundation. How rheumatoid arthritis affects more than joints.

  8. Spondylitis Association of America. Possible complications: how is a person affected?

  9. Cojocaru M, Cojocaru IM, Silosi I, Vrabie CD. Manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus. Maedica (Bucur). 2011;6(4):330-336.

  10. National Psoriasis Foundation. Classification of psoriatic arthritis.

  11. Frank RM, Slabaugh MA, Grumet RC, Virkus WW, Bush-Joseph CA, Nho SJ. Posterior hip pain in an athletic population: differential diagnosis and treatment options. Sports Health. 2010;2(3):237–246. doi:10.1177/1941738110366000

    (Video) Top 3 Signs Your Hip Pain Is From Arthritis-Tests You Can Do at Home.

  12. Amoako AO, Pujalte GG. Osteoarthritis in young, active, and athletic individuals. Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2014;7:27-32. doi:10.4137/CMAMD.S14386

(Video) Hip Arthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management, And Treatment

FAQs

Symptoms of Hip Arthritis? ›

Arthritis Symptoms
  • Pain in the hip joint that may include pain in the groin, outer thigh, or buttocks.
  • Pain that is typically worse in the morning and lessens with activity.
  • Difficulty walking or walking with a limp.
  • Pain that worsens with vigorous or extended activity.
  • Stiffness in the hip or limited range of motion.

What does arthritis in the hip feel like? ›

Because of the damage to the cartilage, people with arthritis may feel as though their hip is stiff and their motion is limited. Sometimes people feel a catching or clicking within the hip. The pain usually gets worse when the hip joint is strained by walking long distances, standing for a long time or climbing stairs.

Where is arthritis hip pain felt? ›

Hip arthritis is most commonly felt as an aching pain in the front of the groin, and this pain may travel into the thigh. Sometimes pain can be felt at the side of the hip (lateral hip), buttocks, or back of the thigh (posterior thigh).

What aggravates hip arthritis? ›

Hip arthritis can flare up due to overexertion or carrying out repetitive movements. The sudden or unexpected activity can also cause stress on the joints, causing pain.

Does hip arthritis show up on xray? ›

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- X-rays don't detect hip arthritis in many patients, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment, researchers report. The researchers looked at information from almost 4,500 Americans taking part in two arthritis studies.

What is the one leg test for hip arthritis? ›

Single Leg Stand Test | Clinical Physio - YouTube

Where do you feel pain if your hip needs replacing? ›

The loss of cartilage leads to pain and inflammation. Pain due to arthritis in the hip is usually felt in the groin or thigh rather than the buttock. It may radiate down your thigh to your knee. Swelling in the joint can also make it harder for you to move your hip.

How can I prevent my hip arthritis from getting worse? ›

Slowing Osteoarthritis Progression
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. ...
  • Control Blood Sugar. ...
  • Get Physical. ...
  • Protect Joints. ...
  • Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.

How do I know if I have hip arthritis or bursitis? ›

“The simplest way to understand the difference between hip bursitis and hip osteoarthritis is to understand where the pain is coming from,” says Dr. Sparling. “When you have hip osteoarthritis, the pain is coming from inside the joint. With hip bursitis, pain is coming from the outside.”

How do I know if my hip pain is serious? ›

Seek immediate medical attention
  1. A joint that appears deformed.
  2. Inability to move your leg or hip.
  3. Inability to bear weight on the affected leg.
  4. Intense pain.
  5. Sudden swelling.
  6. Any signs of infection (fever, chills, redness)

What does bursitis feel like in hip? ›

Symptoms of bursitis of the hip

Symptoms include joint pain and tenderness. You may also see swelling and feel warmth around the affected area. The pain is often sharp in the first few days. It may be dull and achy later.

What is the fastest way to relieve hip pain? ›

Doctors' Tips and Tricks for Relieving Hip Pain
  1. Ice It Down. If your hip is hurting, it's most likely because the joint is inflamed. ...
  2. Heat It Up. If you have an arthritic hip joint, using warm heat from a bath or a shower can help soothe the joint. ...
  3. Lose Weight. ...
  4. Exercise. ...
  5. Orthopedic Expertise in Colorado.
Dec 14, 2018

How should I sleep with hip arthritis? ›

Side sleepers should lie on the hip that isn't painful, and place one or more pillows between the legs. When lying on your back, place a pillow or rolled up blanket beneath your knees and possibly another under the small of your back. When sleeping on your back, place pillows beneath your knees.

How can I get rid of arthritis in my hips naturally? ›

Join now.
  1. Manage your weight. Your weight can have a big impact on arthritis symptoms. ...
  2. Get enough exercise. If you have arthritis, exercise can help you: ...
  3. Use hot and cold therapy. ...
  4. Try acupuncture. ...
  5. Use meditation to cope with pain. ...
  6. Follow a healthy diet. ...
  7. Add turmeric to dishes. ...
  8. Get a massage.

What is the best exercise for arthritis in the hips? ›

Good options for hip and knee OA include:
  • Walking.
  • Swimming.
  • Biking.
  • Elliptical training.
  • Cross-country skiing.
Dec 14, 2017

When does a hip need surgery for arthritis? ›

Your doctor might recommend hip replacement if: You have very bad pain, and other treatments have not helped. You have lost a large amount of cartilage. Your hip pain is keeping you from being active enough to keep up your strength, flexibility, balance, or endurance.

How fast does hip arthritis progress? ›

The amount of time it takes to reach an advanced stage of OA varies. For some people, the disease worsens slowly and may take years to reach stage four, but others may see it progress quickly within several months.

Does arthritis hurt all the time? ›

Pain. Pain from arthritis can be constant or it may come and go. It may occur when at rest or while moving. Pain may be in one part of the body or in many different parts.

How does a doctor check for hip pain? ›

Medical imaging, including X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is crucial in diagnosing hip pain. An X-ray can reveal an excess of bone on the femoral head or neck and the acetabular rim. An MRI can reveal fraying or tears of the cartilage and labrum.

What is the average age for a hip replacement? ›

For hips, the average age is now 65 and knees is 66. According to a study from the American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons, not only is the average age of joint replacement patients younger, but there is also a projected increase in the number of surgeries that will be performed before the end of the decade.

How does a doctor determine if you need a hip replacement? ›

Stiffness is another indication that your hip may be severely injured and need hip replacement surgery. If you find that you're experiencing joint stiffness that makes walking or bending your hip joint difficult or you can't lift your leg, speak with an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible.

What can you do instead of a hip replacement? ›

Alternatives to Hip Replacement for Hip Pain
  • Cell Therapy Injections: Your bone marrow and fat contain progenitor cells can transform into bone or cartilage cells to regenerate injured tissue. ...
  • PRP Therapy: Platelets present in your blood play an important role in the healing of injuries.
Sep 24, 2019

Can you reverse hip arthritis? ›

There's no cure for OA of the hip, but there are ways to slow its progress and manage symptoms. Lifestyle options include weight management, exercise, avoiding stress, and following a healthy diet. Medical options include over-the-counter and prescription medications.

What do doctors prescribe for arthritis pain? ›

Medications
  • NSAIDs . Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. ...
  • Counterirritants. Some varieties of creams and ointments contain menthol or capsaicin, the ingredient that makes hot peppers spicy. ...
  • Steroids. ...
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Sep 15, 2021

Should I keep walking with hip pain? ›

Walking is good for hip pain and you should try to walk as much as you can each day. You'll find that in time and with consistency, your hip pain will diminish, and in a best case scenario, it will disappear altogether.

Can hip pain affect bowels? ›

Tight hip flexors can affect your digestive health.

Your iliacus and psoas are located right next to the small and large intestine. When you begin to have issues with either part of the intestine, it can cause the iliopsoas muscles to quickly tighten around the intestinal area.

Can hip arthritis cause buttock pain? ›

The typical pain from hip arthritis is located in the groin thigh or buttock. The pain is generally worse with weight bearing activities (e.g., walking, standing, or twisting).

Why do the outside of my hips hurt? ›

But hip pain on the outer part of your hip is typically caused by problems with the soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, and muscles) that surround your hip joint, not in the joint itself. A number of conditions can cause outer hip pain. These include bursitis and tendonitis.

How do you test for hip bursitis? ›

Ultrasound or MRI might be used if your bursitis can't easily be diagnosed by a physical exam alone. Lab tests. Your doctor might order blood tests or an analysis of fluid from the inflamed bursa to pinpoint the cause of your joint inflammation and pain.

How do I know if I have hip arthritis or bursitis? ›

“The simplest way to understand the difference between hip bursitis and hip osteoarthritis is to understand where the pain is coming from,” says Dr. Sparling. “When you have hip osteoarthritis, the pain is coming from inside the joint. With hip bursitis, pain is coming from the outside.”

Is walking good for arthritis of the hips? ›

Walking: Bone and joint specialists suggest that walking is one of the best forms of exercise for hip arthritis. Walking boosts blood flow to your cartilage, giving it the nutrients necessary to provide cushion to the ends of your joints.

Where do you feel pain if your hip needs replacing? ›

The loss of cartilage leads to pain and inflammation. Pain due to arthritis in the hip is usually felt in the groin or thigh rather than the buttock. It may radiate down your thigh to your knee. Swelling in the joint can also make it harder for you to move your hip.

What is the one leg test for hip arthritis? ›

Single Leg Stand Test | Clinical Physio - YouTube

What are the signs of needing a hip replacement? ›

5 Signs You Might Need Hip Replacement Surgery
  • You experience pain when you walk. ...
  • You are experiencing a limited range of motion in your hip joint. ...
  • You are limping or experiencing limpness in one leg. ...
  • You have swelling or tenderness in your hip. ...
  • You have a feeling of instability in your hip joint.

What can I do for arthritis in my hip? ›

Nonsurgical treatments for hip arthritis
  1. activity modification (reducing or stopping activities that cause pain)
  2. weight loss (to reduce strain on the joint)
  3. physical therapy.
  4. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication drugs) such as: ibuprofen (Advil) naproxen (Aleve) ...
  5. corticosteroid injections.

How should I sleep with hip arthritis? ›

Side sleepers should lie on the hip that isn't painful, and place one or more pillows between the legs. When lying on your back, place a pillow or rolled up blanket beneath your knees and possibly another under the small of your back. When sleeping on your back, place pillows beneath your knees.

How can I stop my hip arthritis from progressing? ›

Slowing Osteoarthritis Progression
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. ...
  2. Control Blood Sugar. ...
  3. Get Physical. ...
  4. Protect Joints. ...
  5. Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.

How do I know if my hip pain is serious? ›

Seek immediate medical attention
  1. A joint that appears deformed.
  2. Inability to move your leg or hip.
  3. Inability to bear weight on the affected leg.
  4. Intense pain.
  5. Sudden swelling.
  6. Any signs of infection (fever, chills, redness)

What is the average age for a hip replacement? ›

For hips, the average age is now 65 and knees is 66. According to a study from the American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons, not only is the average age of joint replacement patients younger, but there is also a projected increase in the number of surgeries that will be performed before the end of the decade.

What can you do instead of a hip replacement? ›

Alternatives to Hip Replacement for Hip Pain
  • Cell Therapy Injections: Your bone marrow and fat contain progenitor cells can transform into bone or cartilage cells to regenerate injured tissue. ...
  • PRP Therapy: Platelets present in your blood play an important role in the healing of injuries.
Sep 24, 2019

Videos

1. What Is Causing Your Hip Pain? Arthritis? How To Tell.
(Bob & Brad)
2. Hip Arthritis Do's and Don'ts!
(Ortho EVAL Pal With Paul Marquis PT)
3. You Are Wrong! Your Hip Arthritis Pain Can Get Better!
(Bob & Brad)
4. Osteoarthritis Hip Pain: Symptoms and Treatment
(Illinois Bone & Joint Institute)
5. Podcast Episode 85- 3 Most Common Signs of Hip Arthritis
(Ortho EVAL Pal With Paul Marquis PT)
6. SEVERE Hip Arthritis mimicking low back pain!
(Ortho EVAL Pal With Paul Marquis PT)

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