Osteoarthritis of the hip presents with pain, stiffness, a reduced range of movement and occasionally a feeling that the joint will give way. The pain, which is typically felt in the groin and also sometimes in the thigh and knee, may be sharp and brought on by particular movement or activity (climbing stairs, standing up). It may also present as a dull ache occurring particularly after activity, or during the night. Pain may be exacerbated by minor trauma such as a knock or a fall. Stiffness tends to be worse after periods of immobility, and usually improves for a while with use. Findings on examination will include a painful restriction of hip movement. Osteoarthritis is not associated with systemic illness.
Osteoarthritis is common and its prevalence increases with age. In most patients with radiological changes, symptoms are not sufficiently troublesome to prompt a general practice consultation. In some patients symptoms may be intermittent but in others they may be relentless and debilitating. The underlying joint changes of osteoarthritis are generally irreversible and management aims to relieve symptoms and reduce disability.