Severe arthritis within the hip is a debilitating and painful condition that diminishes the quality of life for those who suffer from it.

What is Hip Arthritis

Sometimes called “wear-and-tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis is a common condition that many people develop during middle age or older. In 2011, more than 28 million people in the United States were estimated to have osteoarthritis. It can occur in any joint in the body, but most often develops in weight-bearing joints, such as the hip.

Osteoarthritis of the hip causes pain and stiffness. It can make it hard to do everyday activities like bending over to tie a shoe, rising from a chair, or taking a short walk.

Because osteoarthritis gradually worsens over time, the sooner you start treatment, the more likely it is that you can lessen its impact on your life. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are many treatment options to help you manage pain and stay active.

  • Hip Arthritis Treatment
  • Hip Replacement Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

Common Forms of Hip Arthritis

The most common forms of hip arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the hip joint gradually wears away over time. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective joint space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, the damaged bones may start to grow outward and form bone spurs (osteophytes). There is no specific cause of osteoarthritis, but certain factors that may make you more likely to develop the disease including:

  • Increasing age
  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Previous injury to the hip joint
  • Obesity
  • Improper formation of the hip joint at birth, a condition known as developmental dysplasia of the hip

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not an inherited disease. Researchers believe that some people have genes that make them susceptible to the disease. People with these genes will not automatically develop rheumatoid arthritis. There is usually a “trigger,” such as an infection or environmental factor, which activates the genes. When the body is exposed to this trigger, the immune system responds inappropriately. Instead of protecting the joint, the immune system begins to produce substances that attack the joint. This is what may lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms of RA include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, feeling of warmth and sometimes systemic symptoms of fever, loss of appetite and decreased energy.


The most common symptom of hip osteoarthritis is pain around the hip joint. Usually, the pain develops slowly and worsens over time, although sudden onset is also possible. Pain and stiffness may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting for a while. Over time, painful symptoms may occur more frequently, including during rest or at night. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your groin or thigh that radiates to your buttocks or your knee
  • Pain that flares up with vigorous activity
  • Stiffness in the hip joint that makes it difficult to walk or bend
  • “Locking” or “sticking” of the joint, and a grinding noise (crepitus) during movement caused by loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue interfering with the smooth motion of the hip
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip that affects the ability to walk and may cause a limp
  • Increased joint pain with rainy weather

Nonsurgical (Conservative) Treatments

While surgery may be required to relieve advanced arthritis, conservative treatments are preferred during the early stages, and for as long as possible. Dr. O’Keefe will often recommend a combination of the following conservative treatment options to help manage pain symptoms and slow the progression of the condition:

  • Rest and limited physical activity
  • Medications such as anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or pain relievers such as Tylenol
  • Steroids injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Joint strengthening exercises
  • Weight loss
  • Assistive devices like a cane or walker

Hip Replacement Surgery

As arthritis advances, patients may be unable to continue to relieve pain symptoms and maintain function/quality of life using conservative treatments. Dr. O’Keefe will complete an in-depth evaluation of the location and severity of joint damage in order to determine the best surgical approach for relieving pain symptoms and returning joint function.

Other procedures that Dr. O’Keefe may recommend are traditional total hip replacement and hip resurfacing. Traditional total hip replacement involves using larger incisions on the side or back of the hip to remove and replace the entire diseased hip joint with a prosthetic implant. Patients with pre-existing hip deformities will often benefit most from traditional hip replacement surgery. For patients who are candidates, Dr. O’Keefe will recommend minimally invasive techniques. This involves smaller incisions and muscle sparing approaches such as a direct anterior approach.

Hip Arthritis Treatment in Minneapolis

Dr. Patrick O’Keefe is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon dedicated to using the most advanced technology to provide his patients with the best treatment possible. Specializing in treating both early and advanced arthritis of the hip, Dr. O’Keefe will develop custom treatment plans to fit each patient’s needs. To learn more about arthritis treatment options, make an appointment with Dr. O’Keefe at his Coon Rapids, Blaine or Otsego office at (763) 441-0298.