Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that occurs in the hip joint, a deep 'ball-and-socket' joint that connects the ball-like head of the femur to the deep cup-like acetabulum of the pelvis, and causes pain, swelling , tenderness and reduced motion in your joints.

Sometimes called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint, osteoarthritis is seen especially among older people. By some estimates, about 27 million Americans age 25 and older are living with osteoarthritis. Patients with the condition usually experience acute joint pain and some movement limitations.

Hip Osteoarthritis Causes
Also referred to as the “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis of the hip occurs after a breaking down of cartilage tissue, a slick covering on the ends of hip joint bones (tibia, femur and patella). The condition often occurs due to overuse of joints, obesity, and aging. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that cushions the ends of bones in your joints and permits near frictionless joint motion. In osteoarthritis of hip, the rubbery and glazing surface of the cartilage becomes rough and deteriorates completely over time, eventually leaving you with bones rubbing on each other.

Osteoarthritis of the hip joint causes pain, swelling and tenderness in your groin, thigh or buttock, as well as discomfort and stiffness in the hip as you get out of bed in the morning or after a period of activity. Some patients may hear or feel 'crunching' of hip joint bones rubbing against each other. Patients may not be able to move their joint through its full range of motion. In some cases, extra bits of bone may form around the affected joint.

Tests and Diagnosis
Your doctor will first perform a thorough physical examination of your hip. During the examination, the healthcare provider will examine tenderness, swelling or redness in your affected joint. The doctor will rotate, flex, and extend your hips to check the joint's range of motion. He may ask you to walk or stand on one leg to see how painful and unstable your hip is.

Your doctor may also recommend plain X-rays, a bone scan or an MRI to diagnose the condition of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage, with great accuracy. Besides the imaging tests, your blood or joint fluid can be analyzed as part of diagnosis. Blood tests can help doctors rule out other possible causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Using a needle, your doctor will draw fluid out of the affected joint for the test. This can be helpful in determining if there's inflammation or gout or an infection causing pain in your hip.

Who Has Osteoarthritis?
Congenital deformation of the hip joint or improper formation of hip joint socket at birth can trigger osteoarthritis at an early age.

Elderly or obese individuals and those with a family history of osteoarthritis are more likely to develop the disease.
Those who suffer an injury that puts direct impact on hip cartilage are more likely to get this disease.

The long-forgotten hip disease can lead to an impairment of the joint cartilage, and eventually to osteoarthritis.

Other Important Things You Should Know
If you do not get treatment in time for osteoarthritis, the condition may get worsened and resting or pain killers may no longer relieve your pain.
If you have early stages of hip osteoarthritis, non-surgical treatment may help you.
The progressed form of hip osteoarthritis may cause joint deformities and leg-length differences, and surgical treatment may only be needed to address these problems.
Also known as age-related arthritis, osteoarthritis is more likely to develop in older people.
As obesity may out you at an increased risk of this condition, you should maintain a healthy weight to prevent osteoarthritis of the hip.
Regular exercise can help you strengthen muscles around joints, hence lowering your risk of wear and tear on cartilage.