Arthritis of the hip is a medical condition that is characterized by an irritation of the joint. This can lead to inflammation, pain and decreased mobility of the hip. Inflammatory arthritis is a disease of the immune system, which affects multiple joints, including the joints of the hands, wrists, hips, knees and shoulders. The onset of symptoms of arthritis of the hip may occur later than those in smaller joints. This condition commonly affects women more than men by an estimated average of two to three times.
Types of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. These diseases are frequently classified as autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body. The exact underlying cause of this condition is currently unknown. In some instances, it is believed a virus or bacteria can lead to an immune system response within the body, resulting in the joint being attacked. It is also believed other factors such as genetics and hormones may play a role in the onset of inflammatory arthritis.
Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis of the hip include dull, aching pains in the joints of the hip, groin, outer thigh or buttocks. The pain may be worse in the morning and lessens with light to moderate activity. With strenuous activity the pain may worsen considerably. Other symptoms include stiffness and limited mobility in the joint, as well as disability.
Diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis involves a physical examination where the joints are examined for signs of swelling, pain and inflammation. The range of movement in the hips is also analyzed. In order to accurately assess the extent of damage to the joints, imaging studies such as X-rays and MRI scans may be performed.
Treatment options for inflammatory arthritis are designed to provide relief from symptoms and to prevent joint damage and disease progression. Treatment includes rest, pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, cortisone injections, antibiotics and daily activity modification. Other options include physical therapy and the use of assistive devices such as a cane or walker. Surgery may be necessary to correct joint problems. Total hip replacement is often recommended.