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  • Writer's pictureMr Simon Garrett

The Three Stages of Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis, also know as osteoarthritis (OA), is a common condition that affects mostly large weight-bearing joints such as the hips.

Arthritis occurs when the soft cartilage that protects the surface of your joints eventually becomes worn out and damaged. This is what causes friction and prevention of the joint from moving smoothly as usual.

It is this friction in the joint that can result in the joint becoming swollen and even muscles can feel weaker. Patients will tend to overcompensate for this lack of mobility on the unaffected hip joint that makes the muscles in the affect hip joint even weaker.

This is why it's important to avoid delaying a further investigation into your hip pain, so the other one doesn't overcompensate for too long.

Risk Factors For Osteoarthritis

Age, genetics, obesity, joint injury and joint diseases are all risk factors that can result in patients developing osteoarthritis. OA is more common in the older population and more common in women. Having a history of osteoarthritis can be a contributing factor also. It is key to point out that being overweight can put you at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.

The Three Stages of Hip Arthritis

Stage 1 👉 Early Arthritis

  • You have good cartilage cover on your hip, aka a good tread on your tire!

  • Aches and pains come and go, short-lived sharp pain, occasional swelling and weakness of muscles.

Stage 2 👉 Moderate Arthritis

  • Cartilage is worn and there are a few patches - "the tyre is wearing low".

  • You're experiencing constant aches and occasional severe pain affecting the whole hip.

  • The area may be swollen and warm to touch.

  • It may have changed in shape and the muscles may look smaller.

Stage 3 👉 Advanced arthritis

  • Very little cartilage left and very large bald patches - the tyre is bald. Constant severe aches and pains affecting the whole hip.

  • The area may be swollen, thickened, or stiff and there is pain in weight bearing.

  • Muscles may look smaller and feel weak.

  • At the point that you can no longer tolerate or manage your symptoms, surgery should be considered.


If you have been experiencing ongoing chronic hip pain, don't delay contacting your GP or seeing a private specialist to investigate your hip pain further and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Learn more about the hip procedures I specialise in here.

For more information about osteoarthritis, head over to


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