Hip joint

Last updated date: 17-Nov-2023

Originally Written in English

Hip Joint

Almost every activity you do involves your joints. Walking, bending, and turning are all simple movements that involve the use of your hip and knee joints. In a healthy joint, all of the components function together, and the joint moves freely without pain. The discomfort caused by a damaged or injured joint, on the other hand, might significantly impede your ability to move and work. In the United States, osteoarthritis, one of the most frequent types of degenerative joint disease, affects an estimated 44 million people. This is for you if you're thinking of getting a total joint replacement or just starting to look at your options. It will help you in comprehending the reasons for joint discomfort as well as available therapy options. It will, above all, offer you hope that you will be able to resume your favorite hobbies.

After you've finished reading, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any concerns you may have. Having as much information as possible can help you in selecting the best treatment option for your joint pain and get you back into the swing of activities.


The Hip Joint Anatomy

The ball, or femoral head, at the top end of the thighbone, and the rounded socket, or acetabulum, in the pelvis, constitute your hip joint, which is a ball-and-socket joint. A smooth, strong substance called cartilage covers the bone ends of a joint. Normal cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones, allowing for practically friction-free and pain-free motion. The synovium is a thin, smooth tissue lining that covers the remainder of the joint's surfaces. The synovium secretes a fluid that functions as a lubricant in the joint, reducing friction and wear.


How Does Hip Joint Work?

Hip Joint Work

The hip is one of your body's main weight-bearing joints. It is divided into two sections:

  • The top of your thighbone (femur) has a ball (femoral head)
  • The acetabulum is a spherical socket in your pelvis.

Ligaments, which are tissue bands, link the ball to the socket and help in the stability of the ball and socket. The surfaces of the ball and socket are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth, strong substance that cushions the bones and allows them to move freely.

A thin, smooth tissue liner called a synovial membrane covers the rest of the surfaces of the hip joint, producing a little quantity of fluid that functions as a lubricant so that the bones in the hip joint do not rub against each other. 


Hip Joint Pain

Hip Joint Pain

Hip pain can be incapacitating, making it difficult to move, walk upstairs, or even pick something up off the floor. It can impair your mobility and capacity to function independently.

While hip pain can be induced by deformity or physical injury, such as trauma or a sports injury, osteoarthritis (OA), also referred to as a degenerative joint disease, is the most prevalent cause of hip discomfort. The cartilage lining in persons with arthritis's hips wears away over time, depending on factors such as age, weight, joint function, and exercise. Your bones start rubbing against each other at this point, causing friction, swelling, pain, stiffness, and instability. Day after day of joint discomfort without relief can lead to staying off the joint, weakening the muscles around it and making it much more difficult to move.


Causes of Hip Problems

Hip Osteoarthritis

Hip Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects many people as they get older. It most commonly affects the hands, spine, knees, and feet, in addition to the hip joints. It's linked to joint cartilage deterioration as well as alterations in the bones beneath the joint. Although the specific etiology of osteoarthritis is unknown, genetics, joint stress, and localized inflammation are believed to play a role.

Hip osteoarthritis can cause pain in the groin or buttocks, especially during walking. The hip's range of motion may be limited as well.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune illness that affects the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, hip, knees, and feet, causing inflammation.

The actual cause of rheumatoid arthritis in some people is unclear, while genetics and environmental factors such as smoking may raise the risk.

Inflammation of the joints causes discomfort, stiffness, and swelling (especially first thing in the morning or after periods of rest).


Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis of the spine, knees, and hips that is a rare type of inflammatory arthritis. Early in the morning, pain and stiffness are common symptoms. The reason is unknown, but it is suspected that genes play a role.

Ankylosing spondylitis can occur alone or in combination with other conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or psoriasis. Caucasian men between the ages of 16 and 34 are the most susceptible.


Fracture or Dislocation

Hip fractures are more common in older persons because our bones get less dense as we age. In some situations, a person develops osteoporosis, a disease marked by the loss of bone structure at an excessive rate. The bones become brittle and soft, making them vulnerable to breaks and deformities. Osteoporosis affects more females than males.

When the head of the thigh bone is moved forward or backward out of the socket, it is called a dislocation of the hip. This frequently happens as a result of a traumatic injury like a car accident or a fall.


Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip

The hip joint of a newborn baby with developmental dysplasia is dislocated or susceptible to dislocation. The socket is very shallow, making a tight fit impossible. The femoral head may potentially slip out of the joint due to loose ligaments.

Breech (feet first) childbirth, familial history, and diseases like spina bifida are also possible causes. Approximately 95% of newborns born with hip developmental dysplasia can be effectively treated.


Perthes' Disease

Perthes' disease is a hip joint disorder. It usually affects youngsters between the ages of three and eleven. Due to a lack of blood flow to the bone cells, the ball of the femur softens and eventually becomes damaged. Most children with Perthes' disease recover, however, the femoral head might take anywhere from 2 to 5 years to regrow. The reason behind this is unknown.


Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

The femoral ball is linked to the femur by a bone growth plate during childhood. The ball can slip out of place in certain teenagers, causing the leg on the affected side to curve out from the body.

The form and placement of the femoral head in respect to the femur, increased sex hormones throughout puberty, and weight increase are all possible culprits. If left untreated, a slipped capital femoral epiphysis will progress, and the kid may develop hip arthritis later on in life.


Irritable Hip Syndrome

Irritable hip syndrome (also known as toxic synovitis) is a type of arthritis that affects children in their early childhood for unexplained reasons. Toxic synovitis affects four times more boys than it does girls. Hip discomfort (typically on one side), difficulty walking (or limping), knee pain, and fever are all symptoms. The majority of episodes of toxic synovitis go away on their own after one or two weeks.


Referred Pain and Soft Tissue Pain

Referred Pain and Soft Tissue Pain

Pain that appears to originate in the hip joint could be caused by soft tissue structures around the hip, such as muscles, tendons, and bursae, or it could be referred from a back condition. Trochanteric bursitis is a typical source of pain on the outer side of the hip (greater trochanteric pain syndrome). Overuse or local muscle weakness irritates the soft tissues surrounding the outer hip, resulting in this disease.


Post-traumatic Arthritis

It can happen after a joint injury if the bone and cartilage do not heal adequately. The joint is no longer smooth, and the irregularities cause the joint to wear down faster.


Avascular Necrosis

When a bone's regular blood supply is cut off, this can happen. The bone's structure degrades without sufficient nutrients from the blood, and it may collapse, damaging the cartilage.


Paget's Disease

A type of bone disease that most commonly affects the hip. Bone development is accelerated, resulting in changes in the density and structure of the bone. Deformity or direct trauma to the joint can also cause joint discomfort. Joint pain can often be exacerbated by a person's refusal to use a painful joint, weakening the muscles and causing the joint even more difficult to move.


Hip Disorders Diagnosis

Hip Disorders Diagnosis

If you have hip pain, your doctor will examine you and use imaging studies to try to figure out what's causing it. An examination of the hip may identify a deformity or injury. Your doctor will move your leg in different directions to see whether there is any resistance, a popping sensation, or discomfort. These could point to the source of your hip pain. More testing, however, may be required to confirm a diagnosis.

The following are some of the most common imaging studies used to identify hip disorders:

The doctor can see the hip in extensive detail with imaging studies. With these imaging exams, they will be able to see any breaks, deformities, or swelling.

A bone biopsy may be performed by your doctor to check for changes in the bone and surrounding tissues. A doctor will use a needle to take a tiny sample of your bone during a bone biopsy. The sample could reveal abnormalities in the cells of the bone. This will help the doctor figure out what's causing the hip problem.


Treatment Options for Hip Problems

Treatment Options for Hip Problems

Depending on the underlying reason and intensity of symptoms, there are several treatment options for hip problems:

  • There are non-pharmacological therapy options for all types of arthritis, such as exercise programs, education, and self-management programs, that do not involve drugs. Various forms of arthritis require different therapies. Simple pain relievers are often useful for osteoarthritis, the most prevalent kind of arthritis. For severe osteoarthritis, hip replacement surgery (hip or knee) is occasionally recommended.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, for example, frequently necessitate more extensive medical treatment, such as anti-inflammatory medications and immune system treatments. A specialist is typically in charge of these.
  • A fracture or dislocation usually necessitates hospitalization and, in certain cases, surgery.
  • A customized harness is worn for six to twelve weeks by babies with hip developmental dysplasia to keep the joint in line as the bone grows and matures.
  • Bed rest, pain relievers, a brace or splint (worn for one to two years to help the regenerating femoral head to fit inside the socket), and surgery to correct deformities are all treatments for Perthes' disease.
  • In slipped capital femoral epiphysis, surgery can realign and screw the femoral head firmly into position.
  • Bed rest, pain relievers, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are all options for irritable hip syndrome.
  • Exercise programs, simple pain relievers, anti-inflammatory creams, and sometimes topical cortisone injections can help with soft tissue discomfort.


Total Hip Replacement

Total Hip Replacement

The femur (thighbone's head) and the acetabulum (hip socket) are replaced during hip replacement surgery. The artificial ball and stem are usually composed of metal or ceramic, while the artificial socket is manufactured of polyethylene (a strong, wear-resistant plastic) or metal with a plastic liner. The prosthetic joint can either be cemented in place or kept in place in the bone without the use of cement.

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most significant surgical breakthroughs of the twentieth century. Every year, more than 300,000 Americans benefit from this operation to relieve pain and return to normal daily activities. Hip replacement entails removing arthritic bone ends and broken cartilage and replacing them with artificial implants that are designed to mimic the hip.

When arthritis makes it difficult to walk or bend, when discomfort persists even when resting, or when stiffness in your hip makes it difficult to move or lift your leg, a hip replacement procedure may be recommended. Only after a thorough diagnosis of your joint problem may hip replacement be indicated. If anti-inflammatory drugs aren't providing enough pain relief and other therapies, such as physiotherapy, aren't working, it's time to consider a surgical procedure. Hip replacement can help you feel better and go back to doing the things that you love.



In conclusion, hip diseases can have profound consequences, including impaired mobility and the potential for a lifetime of chronic pain management. For some individuals, these conditions may lead to the development of permanent hip abnormalities. The treatment journey can vary significantly, with multiple procedures possibly being necessary to address the issue, depending on its severity. It is crucial to seek timely medical attention and work closely with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable treatment plan to improve your hip health and overall quality of life.