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Inflammatory Arthritis of the Hip

Inflammation of the joints is referred to as arthritis. The inflammation arises when the smooth covering (cartilage) at the end surfaces of the bones wears away. In some cases, the inflammation is caused when the lining of the joint becomes inflamed as part of an underlying systemic disease. These conditions are referred to as inflammatory arthritis.

The most common types of inflammatory arthritic conditions of the hip include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: systemic disease of the immune system commonly affects multiple joints on both sides of the body at the same time
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: chronic inflammatory disease of the spine and the sacroiliac joints (junction where the spine meets the pelvic bone)
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues

Symptoms

The typical symptom of arthritis is joint pain. Inflammatory hip arthritis is mainly characterized by an aching pain in the groin region, outer thighs or buttocks. The pain is commonly most severe in the morning which sometimes lessens with activity during the day. Vigorous activities may result in increased pain and stiffness and limit your movement making walking difficult.

Diagnosis

Inflammatory hip arthritis can be diagnosed by physical examination. Your doctor will ask you to move your hip in different directions to find out which motions are restricted or painful. X-rays and laboratory tests may be ordered to diagnose or rule out other conditions. X-rays may show thinning or erosion in the bones or loss in joint space. Laboratory studies will show the presence of a rheumatoid factor or other antibodies.

Treatment

The treatment options vary depending on the diagnosis.

Non-surgical treatment: Your doctor will refer you to a rheumatologist for evaluation and treatment with anti-inflammatory and possibly biologic agents.

Surgical treatment: Total hip replacement surgery is considered when non-surgical treatment options fail to reduce the symptoms.