Common Diseases of the Hip Joints

Although “arthritis” commonly refers to inflammation in the joints, it also indicates conditions where there is damage to the cartilage. In most cases, inflammation can be found in and around the synovium, the thin strip of tissue that lines the joints. The level of severity of arthritis also determines the level of damage found in the cartilage and synovium. For people suffering from the early stages of arthritis, the discomfort stems from the inflammation. Those suffering from arthritis in its later stages tend to suffer from discomfort when the bones grate against each other. This occurs because the cartilage that is supposed to be there to serve as a cushion between the two bones is no longer present.

Two Common Kinds of Arthritis


Osteoarthritis is one medical condition that causes damage to the joint cartilage and affects the major joints. Despite being a common condition, the main cause of osteoarthritis is not yet known. Some doctors attribute the development of the disease to normal wear and tear. However, it may also arise after a simple hip injury or due to the presence of joint abnormalities or hip diseases. There are individuals who were born with absent or extremely thin cartilage of the hip bones, which increases their risk of developing osteoarthritis as they become older.

The pain from osteoarthritis occurs because of the friction generated when two bones rub against each other. Pain also results when cartilage fragments irritate the joint lining and inflammation develops.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is another inflammatory condition that affects the joints with no clear cause. It destroys the joint cartilage which results in damage to the bone. The bone becomes mushy and soft, making it impossible for doctors to attach a bone implant to make the joint movable again. Rheumatoid arthritis affects multiple joints and internal organs, unlike osteoarthritis which only attacks major joints. However, the X-ray appearance of the damage and loss of bone density caused by rheumatoid arthritis is closely similar to the bone damage inflicted by osteoarthritis.

Other Types of Joint Inflammations

Another type of inflammation that occurs in the joints is lupus. This inflammation is a result of the autoimmune response of the body which causes it to attack normal, healthy cells. Lupus occurs in the organs and in the blood, but it also occurs in the joints. In addition to lupus, there are other rare forms of arthritis considered to be inflammatory as well.

Osteonecrosis, although not a form of arthritis, also causes pain. The term literally means ‘dead bone’ and occurs when the femoral head dies and collapses, causing extreme pain when the joint moves. In most cases, a person with osteonecrosis may find it impossible to walk because of the pain. Common causes of osteonecrosis include excessive alcohol intake and use of medications that contain cortisone, but there are patients with idiopathic osteonecrosis, which means that the cause of bone death is not known.


Patients are often given anti-inflammatory medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the inflammation. Patients can also opt for natural remedies that bring relief from the pain of arthritic inflammation.


The most common symptom of hip arthritis is pain which comes from groin and is felt around the buttocks. The pain is often misdiagnosed as groin pain. In some patients, the pain can travel down to the knee, and there are patients who exhibit knee pain as the only symptom of hip arthritis. Some patients also experience back pain which radiates down to the thighs and is caused by a pinched nerve in the lower part of the spine. Pain may be accompanied by a numb or tingling sensation on the legs. It is important to determine the origin of the pain, since patients with back pain may not benefit from hip replacement surgery. Patients who experience hip pain, however, are good candidates for this surgery and often experience relief after having their damaged hip joints replaced.

Keeping Fit Despite Arthritis

It is a common misconception that people with hip disorders should avoid exercise and activity to avoid further damage to the joints. Exercise promotes circulation to various parts of the body and strengthens the muscles which can help speed up recovery from surgery. For those with chronic pain, it is best to take pain medications before doing any exercise. An orthopedic surgeon may tell patients to avoid walking or running. Swimming, however, is a great activity since it does not put too much pressure on the hip joints but allows the patient to exercise all the muscles in the body. For those in the Florida area suffering from inflammation and other diseases that affect the hips, they can seek medical and surgical relief from the St Pete Hip and Knee orthopedic surgeons at

Kurt Hirshorn MD of St Pete Hip and Knee guarantees expertise and compassion when caring for his patients, and ensures a good hospital stay. Schedule an appointment today or call us at (727) 755-0313.

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4600 4th Street North
St Petersburg, FL 33703, USA
Phone: (727) 755-0313

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