​​The hip is a large weight-bearing ball and socket joint that moves and stabilizes the torso and lower body. When the hip is affected by arthritis, it can be debilitating.

Patients who are worried about hip arthritis should be aware of the common signs, symptoms, and risk factors. Being informed enables patients to know when to make an appointment with Dr. Nelson. Keep in mind that receiving an early diagnosis and an effective treatment plan can often decrease symptoms and stop arthritis progression.

What is Arthritis of the Hip

Arthritis of the hip is a condition in which there is loss of the cartilage of the head of the thighbone and of the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis where the thighbone fits into the joint (the acetabulum). This cartilage allows the bone to glide inside the socket of the joint as you move. When the cartilage is damaged or lost, bone rubs against bone causing pain, tenderness, swelling (inflammation), and limitation of your ability to move freely.

Symptoms of Hip Arthritis

  • Pain and Stiffness: The most common symptom of hip arthritis is pain. This can be a dull, achy pain or a sharp, burning sensation. The pain may be worse with activity and at night. Stiffness is also common, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
  • Limping: Many people with hip arthritis develop a limp. This may be due to pain or muscle weakness.
  • Loss of Range of Motion: As hip arthritis progresses, you may lose the ability to move your hip through its full range of motion.

Risk Factors

Arthritis usually affects middle-aged and older patients (50+) and is often associated with the aging process. A previous injury may cause early-onset arthritis in patients of any age, especially if the injury severely damaged hip cartilage, bone, or anatomy. Additional risk factors include:

  • Developmental hip dysplasia
  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Obesity


Arthritis is a chronic condition and although its progression can be slowed down and symptoms can be treated, the condition cannot be cured. An early diagnosis is important because nonsurgical treatment options can quickly and effectively decrease symptoms and slow the onset. Depending on the severity of arthritis and your age, hip arthritis may be managed in several different ways including any or a combination of the following:

  • Conservative care
  • Pain management
  • Losing weight to reduce the forces on your hip joint
  • Changing your activities to avoid strain on your hip
  • Using assistive devices such as a cane in your opposite hand
  • Surgery
  • Hip replacement

If you experience hip arthritis symptoms, please contact our office to make an appointment with Dr. Nelson at 435-774-8511. His goal is to get you back to an active and healthy life using a treatment plan customized to you and your goals!