Inflammatory Arthritis of the Hip
Other popular names
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Inflammatory arthritis due to connective tissue disorders, skin or bowel disease
Who does it affect?
Generally associated with older people, however can affect anyone with immune or system diseases.
What is it?
Arthritis literally means "inflammation of a joint." In some forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, the inflammation arises because the smooth covering (articular cartilage) on the ends of bones wears away. In other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of a systemic disease. These diseases are considered the inflammatory arthritides.
The three most common types of inflammatory arthritis that affect the hip are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis - a systemic disease of the immune system that usually affects multiple joints on both sides of the body at the same time
- Ankylosing Spondylitis - a chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joint (the point where the spine meets the pelvic bone) that can also cause inflammation in other joints
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus - an autoimmune disease in which the body harms its own healthy cells and tissues
- Inflammatory arthritis associated with skin disease i.e. psoriasis or bowel disease i.e. ulcerative colitis
The classic sign of arthritis is joint pain. Inflammatory arthritis of the hip is characterized by a dull, aching pain in the groin, outer thigh, or buttocks. Pain is usually worse in the morning and lessens with activity; however, vigorous activity can result in increased pain and stiffness. The pain may limit your movements or make walking difficult.
During the physical examination, your consultant will ask you to move your hip in various ways to see which motions are restricted or painful.
X-rays will be taken to study the extent and type of arthritis.
Nonsurgical treatments may provide some relief but generally only give short/medium term relief. Non surgical treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, with the aim to reduce the inflammation.
- Corticosteroid injections into the hip joint.
- Physiotherapy may help you increase the range of motion, and strengthening exercises may help maintain muscle tone. Swimming is a preferred exercise for people with ankylosing spondylitis.
- Assistive devices, such as a walking stick may make it easier for you to do daily living activities.
If these treatments do not relieve the pain, surgery may be recommended. The type of surgery depends on several factors, including your age, the condition of the hip joint, the type of inflammatory arthritis you have, the progression of the disease, medication (especially steroids) you are on and the state of your bones. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the various options with you.
The most common surgical procedures performed for inflammatory arthritis of the hip include:
- Total hip replacement. This is often recommended for patients with rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis because it provides pain relief and improves motion and hence function.
Specific treatments are explained in more detail by linking to the conditions above.