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The debilitating effects of hip arthritis resulted in nearly 250,000 total hip replacements nationwide in 2004.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Hip Arthritis Overview

Arthritis is inflammation of the joint, which leads to pain. The forms of arthritis have their own pattern of symptoms and affect people in different ways. There are two major types of arthritis.


  • Sometimes called wear-and-tear arthritis, or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is a common form of hip arthritis.
  • The onset of osteoarthritis is usually after age 50.
  • Contributing factors include obesity, genetics and previous trauma
  • Symptoms include pain, walking with a limp and limitation of mobility


Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in people of all ages. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • Chronic inflammation of the joint lining—these are not symptoms. These are pathologic findings.
  • Secondary destruction of cartilage
  • Stiffness, joint swelling, weakness of ligaments, pain, and a decrease of movement in the joint

Mechanical wear and tear over a lifetime can break down the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones that comprise the hip joint. This causes the bones to rub together, causing pain and stiffness.

Wear and tear on a person's hip joints over time seems to be an obvious explanation for the increase of degenerative arthritis with age, but the answer is not that simple. A number of factors interact to cause hip arthritis including a genetic predisposition to abnormal cartilage metabolism, major or minor repetitive injures and certain occupations. While being overweight does not necessarily cause arthritis, it certainly contributes to the symptoms of hip arthritis.


Symptoms of hip arthritis include:

  • Pain with activities
  • Limited range of motion
  • Stiffness of the hip
  • Walking with a limp

In cases of rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic inflammatory disease of the hip joint caused when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thin membrane that lines the joints – symptoms may also include:

  • Pain
  • Redness of the affected hip joint
  • Swelling and warmth of hip joint

Risk Factors

The causes of most types of arthritis are unknown, but genetic factors, injuries and your current lifestyle contribute. Being overweight is a risk factor.