Inflammatory Arthritis of the Hip

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Inflammation of the joints is referred to as arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis of the hip is mainly characterized by an aching pain in the groin region, outer thighs or buttocks. Inflammation arises when the smooth covering (cartilage) at the end surfaces of the bones wears away. In some cases, the inflammation is caused when the lining of the joint becomes inflamed as part of an underlying systemic disease.

At OrthoAspen, our orthopedic hip experts are committed to helping active patients find a treatment solution to help alleviate pain and return them to the lifestyle they enjoy.

inflammatory arthritis of the hip

Causes & Symptoms

The exact cause of inflammatory arthritis is inconclusive, although genetic factors are suspected to play a part in some variations of the disease. The most common types of inflammatory arthritic conditions of the hip include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    This type of arthritis refers to a systemic disease of the immune system that commonly affects multiple joints on both sides of the body at the same time.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
    This is a chronic inflammatory disease of the spine and the sacroiliac joints (junction where the spine meets the pelvic bone).
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
    Refers to an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues.

The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis of the hip include:

  • Pain (more severe in the morning and usually lessens with activity during the day)
  • Pain and stiffness that increase with activity
  • Movement that’s restricted or difficult
  • Pain that is usually dull in the groin, outer thigh, knee or buttocks area
  • Pain that worsens after long periods of sitting or resting

Inflammatory hip arthritis can be diagnosed by physical examination. Your doctor will ask you to move your hip in different directions to find out which motions are restricted or painful. X-rays and laboratory tests may be ordered to diagnose or rule out other conditions. X-rays may show thinning or erosion in the bones or loss in joint space. Laboratory studies will show the presence of a rheumatoid factor or other antibodies.


Treatment options vary depending on the diagnosis. Whenever possible, your OrthoAspen physician will attempt to apply conservative treatment methods.

Conservative treatment methods to address inflammatory arthritis of the hip include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids to help reduce the inflammation
  • Physical therapy to help increase the range of motion in the hip
  • Exercises to strengthen and maintain muscle tone
  • Canes, walkers and other assistive devices to make daily living activities easier

In the event conservative treatment methods do not reduce the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis of the hip, surgery may be recommended.

The type of surgery to be performed depends on a patient’s age, condition of the hip joint and the type and progression of the inflammatory disease. The goal of surgery is to relieve pain and improve joint motion.

The most common surgical procedures include:

  • Total Hip Replacement
    Indicated for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Bone Grafts
    Recommended for patients with SLE. These grafts aim to build new blood cells to replace the old, dead cells.
  • Core Decompression
    Helps to reduce bone marrow pressure and encourages blood flow. Core decompression is another treatment option for patients with SLE.
  • Synovectomy
    The procedure that removes a part or whole of the joint lining. This is indicated if the inflammation has not affected the cartilage, but is limited to the joint lining or synovium.

No matter what treatment protocol is recommended by your OrthoAspen physician, rest assured that you will have the support needed to ensure a safe and timely relief from symptoms of inflammatory arthritis of the hip.

If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a hip condition, contact us today to schedule a consultation, or call us at 970-544-1289.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400