How to Manage Arthritis Pain in the Hip

June 14, 2024

Hip arthritis is a common condition that affects many people, particularly as they age. This condition can cause significant pain and discomfort, impacting the ability to perform various daily activities. However, effective pain management strategies can help adults currently struggling to maintain their mobility and independence because of their hip pain. Our Greater Austin Pain Center team understands the importance of tailoring your treatment plan to help you manage your arthritis pain.

What Is Hip Arthritis?

Hip arthritis refers to inflammation of the hip joint, which causes pain and stiffness. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, and arthritis can affect the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones, causing them to rub together. This friction results in aching pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Understanding hip arthritis is the first step towards managing its symptoms effectively.

Types and Causes of Hip Arthritis


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis affecting the hip, often associated with aging and natural wear and tear on the joint. It occurs as the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones gradually deteriorates, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced joint mobility. Risk factors for OA include advanced age, genetic predisposition, joint injuries, and overuse of the joint through repetitive activities. These factors can accelerate cartilage degeneration, exacerbating the symptoms and severity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another type of arthritis that can affect the hip joint. Due to its autoimmune nature, RA is distinct from osteoarthritis. In RA, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the joints, causing chronic inflammation. This ongoing immune response leads to joint damage, pain, and swelling, often affecting multiple joints symmetrically. The inflammation caused by RA can erode cartilage and bone within the joint, resulting in significant pain and deformity over time.

Post-traumatic Arthritis

This form of arthritis can develop after a hip injury or fracture, contributing to joint pain and stiffness. It is a result of physical trauma that disrupts the typical structure and function of the joint. Injuries such as fractures, dislocations, or severe sprains can damage the cartilage and lead to premature degeneration. Over time, the joint may become arthritic, causing chronic pain and limiting mobility due to the initial injury.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the hip joints of some individuals with psoriasis, a condition characterized by red, scaly skin patches. Psoriatic arthritis typically develops in individuals with a history of psoriasis, though in some cases, joint problems can occur before the skin lesions appear. This form of arthritis also causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, and it can affect any part of the body, including the spine and fingers.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis occurs when the blood supply to the hip joint is compromised, leading to the death of bone tissue and subsequent arthritis. This condition can arise from various causes, including trauma, long-term use of high-dose corticosteroids, or excessive alcohol consumption, all of which can impede blood flow to the bone. As the bone tissue dies due to a lack of blood supply, the joint's structure is compromised, resulting in pain, joint collapse, and the eventual development of arthritis.

Key Pain Management Strategies

Managing hip arthritis pain requires a comprehensive approach that includes various strategies.

Medication Management

Pain medication options are a cornerstone of arthritis pain management. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can provide relief for mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis and other arthritis types. For more severe hip arthritis and pain, prescription medications, including stronger NSAIDs or corticosteroids, may be necessary. Topical treatments, such as creams or gels containing pain relievers, can be applied directly to the skin over the hip joint for localized relief.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes also play a significant role in managing hip arthritis pain. Exercise and physical activity are important for maintaining joint function, but choosing low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, or walking is crucial to avoid further joint damage.

Weight Management

Weight management is another key factor, as losing weight decreases the stress on the hip joint, alleviating pain. Additionally, diet and nutrition can influence inflammation and pain levels. An anti-inflammatory diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, and vegetables can help manage arthritis symptoms.

Nonsurgical Treatments

Various nonsurgical, interventional procedure methods can provide additional relief for hip arthritis pain when lifestyle changes and over-the-counter relief are not enough.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are a standard treatment for managing inflammation and pain associated with various types of arthritis, including hip arthritis. These joint steroid injections deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly into the affected joint, providing rapid relief from pain and swelling. The corticosteroids work by reducing the activity of the immune system, thereby decreasing inflammation and alleviating discomfort. Typically, patients experience significant pain relief within a few days of the injection, lasting for several weeks to months.

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is an innovative treatment option for managing chronic pain conditions, including hip arthritis. This minimally invasive procedure involves implanting a small device near the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals. The device emits electrical impulses that interfere with these pain signals, reducing the pain sensation. PNS can be a valuable option for patients who have not found adequate relief through conventional treatments or who prefer to avoid the side effects associated with long-term medication use.

Platelet-rich Plasma Injections

Platelet-rich plasma injections are a regenerative treatment that utilizes the body's natural healing processes to alleviate pain and promote healing in arthritic joints. PRP is derived from the patient's own blood, which is processed to concentrate the platelets and growth factors. These concentrated platelets are then injected into the affected hip joint, where they help stimulate tissue repair and reduce inflammation. PRP injections are particularly appealing because they use the body's own biological material, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.

Stem Cell Injections

Stem cell injections are another innovative arthritis treatment that leverages the regenerative potential of stem cells to repair damaged tissues. These injections typically involve harvesting stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow or adipose tissue, which are then processed and injected into the arthritic hip joint. Stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate into various cell types, promoting the repair and regeneration of cartilage and other joint tissues. Stem cell injections are a promising option for those with advanced arthritis who are seeking alternatives to total hip replacement surgery.

Tailoring Your Treatment

Personalized arthritis treatment options are essential for effectively managing hip arthritis pain. The severity and type of arthritis and individual health factors necessitate a customized approach. Consulting Kyle Texas pain management experts is crucial in developing a comprehensive treatment plan. Regular follow-ups are important to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make necessary adjustments.

Start Treatment at Greater Austin Pain Center Today!

Managing hip arthritis pain effectively can help you return to normal activities. Understanding the condition and helping our patients explore different arthritis pain management strategies is the key to successful arthritis management. By seeking professional help from our Greater Austin Pain Center team, you can experience pain relief for a better quality of life despite your hip arthritis. Contact us today to get started. 

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Curious about interventive pain treatments in Austin, TX? Join our doctors for an in-person lunch and learn session to find out more about these treatments and ask any questions you may have. This event will be 12–1pm, sign up below to receive more details and RSVP.

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