A Visual Guide to Hip Osteoarthritis

As two of the main weight-bearing joints in our body, our hips are subjected to a lot of wear and tear, which can lead to hip osteoarthritis.

Learn more: What Is Hip Osteoarthritis?

We’ve added a new video to our Arthritis-health Video Library that illustrates how hip osteoarthritis develops and causes symptoms.

Hip osteoarthritis can lead to inflammation, pain, and loss of mobility in the hip joint. Watch: Hip Osteoarthritis Video

When the cartilage in the hip joint degenerates, this is known as hip osteoarthritis. It can lead to pain, inflammation, and decreased range of motion in the hip joint.

See Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms

The hip is a large joint that’s shaped like a ball and socket and bears much of the body’s weight. The hip makes it possible to walk, run, and sit.

When hip osteoarthritis occurs, the cartilage that lines the socket, or acetabulum, and the ball, or femoral head, becomes inflamed.

See Hip Osteoarthritis Causes and Risk Factors


This inflamed cartilage starts to wear away over time, causing the space between the bones to narrow. Joint damage may trigger new cartilage growth, but this new cartilage can be bumpy and irregular, only making the joint friction worse.

Eventually, the cartilage can wear away completely, causing the bones to be in direct contact with each other. This may cause bone spurs, or osteophytes, to form.

Watch: Lumbar Osteophytes (Bone Spurs) Video

A sign of hip osteoarthritis may be a grating sensation when walking as the bones in the joint grind together.

See Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms

The pain caused by hip osteoarthritis tends to be dull and be felt in the groin or down the front of the thigh.

It may also be felt in the lower back or buttocks. The pain may be constant or it may come and go.

In addition to the dull pain, patients may experience briefs periods of sharp, stabbing pain. They may also experience more limited range of motion as hip osteoarthritis progresses.

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