Hip Osteoarthritis: The Four Stages

It’s important to look out for the signs of arthritis, even if you think you’re not at risk – despite popular belief, even young people can suffer from it. That is why it’s important to catch osteoarthritis early so it can be treated. Hip osteoarthritis is no exception, so let’s take a look at each of its ‘stages’ and the associated symptoms.

1. The first stage: Minor

At first, there will only be small signs of tension, making it easy to surpass this stage without even realising. The pain can manifest slightly in the form of bone spurs of the hip, which occur when bones cross paths in the joint. However, this usually goes undetected, although it is treatable if picked up on.

2: The second stage: Mild

Eventually, X-rays will pick up on the slowly-developing bone spurs. You may also begin to notice more physical symptoms too, namely stiffness in your hip joints. This commonly occurs when standing up after a long time sitting down, so be vigilant if you ever suddenly experience more difficulty getting out of bed than you otherwise would. Your doctor will likely suggest a special brace in tandem with exercise to lessen the current symptoms.

3. The third stage: Moderate

As the condition progresses, cartilage begins to wear away, resulting in joint inflammation, which can make many normal activities much more difficult (if not impossible) to complete. Larger bone spurs form and you might even notice a distinct popping noise as you move your joints – swelling is also increasingly likely.

4. The fourth stage: Severe

At this stage, the joints may be chronically inflamed and your cartilage will likely be brittle. This manifests as chronic stiffness and pain, which can persist even without movement. At this point, bone realignment surgery can be an option, as can a total hip replacement.

The NHS lists osteoarthritis as ‘the most common type of arthritis in the UK’, and hip osteoarthritis makes up a significant portion of that. Sadly, it can be debilitating, especially as it’s hard to detect in its earliest stages, which is why you need to know the symptoms for each.
If you feel like you might have this condition and could benefit from speaking to a consultant, contact us today.