Hip osteoarthritis occurs when inflammation or injury to the hip joint causes the cartilage tissue that otherwise protects it to break down, according to WebMD. When this cartilage breaks down, the joint becomes swollen, painful and in some cases, deformed. Typically worsening over a series of years, hip osteoarthritis can create a problem walking and is quite difficult to diagnose in its early stages.
Because pain is often difficult to pinpoint, hip osteoarthritis can affect the buttocks, thigh, groin or knee, according to WebMD. The pain can vary from a sharp and stabbing pain to a dull ache, and it is often accompanied by a stiffness in the joint.
Joint injury, being overweight and increasing age all have a role in contributing to the risk of developing hip osteoarthritis, according to WebMD. Some symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include joint stiffness when getting out of bed or sitting for a long time; pain, swelling and tenderness in the joint; and a sound of crunching or rubbing of the bones together when walking.
Hip osteoarthritis is diagnosed using an X-ray, notes WebMD. Treatment for the condition involves improving mobility and lifestyle. Medications and other pain-controlling measures can be used to minimize pain, while advanced cases benefit from hip replacement surgery or hip resurfacing.