Arthritis can strike most any joint in your body, but your more active joints are especially vulnerable, which certainly describes your hips. The prevalence of hip arthritis isn’t small — hip osteoarthritis alone is found in more than one-quarter of people 45 years or older in the United States. In fact, arthritis is what drives more than 450,000 hip replacement surgeries each year.
To avoid having to replace your hip too soon (or at all), Dr. Brian White of Western Orthopaedics and our team believe that intervening at the first sign of trouble is best. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together 6 symptoms that may indicate you have hip arthritis.
Defining hip arthritis
Before we get into the signs of hip arthritis, it’s important to note that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Of those that can affect your hips, the following are the most common culprits:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
The first type of arthritis on this list — osteoarthritis — occurs when the cartilage in your joints begins to break down. The following three are varying forms of inflammatory arthritis, which occurs when your body mistakenly attacks your joints.
While different types of arthritis can affect your hip joints, the symptoms are fairly similar across the board. Let’s take a look.
The pain that arthritis creates often starts out as a dull ache or throb in your groin area, but it can also radiate to your outer thighs, buttocks, and knees.
2. Pain after inactivity
Another warning sign of arthritis is when you experience more pain in the morning or after long periods of sitting. This occurs because your hips are held in one position, which allows inflammation to set in.
3. Pain after exercise
Hip pain can also flare after exercise. For example, if you go for a long walk or play a game of tennis, two activities that place heavy stress on your hips, you may feel pain toward the end of your activity or it may develop a short while afterward.
While pain is a primary indicator of joint inflammation, you may also experience stiffness in the joint, especially after long periods of inactivity. Initially, the stiffness generally works itself out with your first few steps, but the stiffness can get progressively worse with time.
5. Locking in your joint
If you feel as if your joint locks or seizes, or you hear a grinding noise (which we call crepitus), these are clear signs of osteoarthritis. The locking and grinding develop when fragments of cartilage break free and interfere with the motion of your hip.
6. Rainy days, bad hips
It may be a running joke about your relative’s ability to predict rain because of an achy joint, but there is some veracity to this. High levels of humidity can exacerbate inflammation, causing more discomfort in your hip joints.
As the arthritis progresses, all of these symptoms can lead to a limp, as any pressure on your hip joints becomes unsupportable.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we describe above, we urge you to come see Dr. White at your earliest convenience. With hip arthritis of any kind, the earlier we can address the problem, the better your outcome. To get started, contact one of our two Colorado offices in Denver or Arvada, to set up an appointment.