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Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis is one of the most commonly treated conditions at HSS. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball, at the top of your femur (thighbone) is called the femoral head. The socket, called the acetabulum, is a part of your pelvis. The ball moves in the socket, allowing your leg to rotate and move forward, backward and sideways.

In a healthy hip, soft tissue called cartilage covers the ball and the socket to help them glide together smoothly. If this cartilage wears down or gets damaged, the bones scrape together and become rough. Arising from a variety of underlying conditions, all forms of hip arthritis involve a loss of cartilage of the hip joint that eventually leads to bone rubbing on bone, and destruction of the joint.

Image showing anatomy of the hip joint, with labelling of the femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (socket).

Unfortunately, once the arthritic process begins, progression is almost always inevitable. However, the degree of pain and disability experienced by people with arthritis varies considerably.

Depending upon the extent of the damage and your symptoms and age, hip arthritis may be managed either nonsurgically or with surgery. A combination of approaches may also be recommended. Nonsurgical approaches that reduce pain and disability include physical therarpy, activity modification – giving up those activities that cause pain, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen, and weight loss. Surgical options include osteotomy (cutting the bone), fusion, athrotomy, and total hip replacement.

Learn more from the articles and other content below, or select Treating Physicians to find the best arthritis doctor at HSS for your specific condition and insurance.

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