What is Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hip?

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and can impact the hip, making it challenging to move without pain. Cartilage between the bones of a normal hip allow a gliding movement and effectively absorb shock. Arthritis of the hip causes a gradual disintegration of the cartilage and bone surfaces and results in inflammation of the hip joint. It can result from a particular injury or gradual damage.

Arthritis of the hip most often occurs in people over the age of 50. It is more common in overweight people with a history of hip injury.

Arthritis cannot be cured, however there are many options available to treat the symptoms and slow its progress to help reduce pain. The most common forms of arthritis to impact the hip are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that often impacts multiple joints of the body, including the hip. Rheumatoid arthritis typically occurs in both hips at the same time.

This condition occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues. The immune cells attack the soft tissue between the joint capsule and joint cavity of the synovial joints, which causes the area to become swollen.

This form of arthritis affects 1% of the population, with women more than twice as likely to develop the condition as men.


The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are presently unknown.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hip Symptoms

The symptoms most often associated with rheumatoid arthritis of the hip are:

  • Severe pain, stiffness and swelling of the hip, with pain worse in the morning and reducing with activity.
  • Fever, fatigue and appetite loss.
  • Stiffness and discomfort in the thigh, buttocks and groin.
  • Softening of the bone resulting in stress fractures and bone collapse.
  • Difficulties walking up inclines and stairs.


An experienced podiatrist can diagnose rheumatoid arthritis through history taking, a physical examination of the hip and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your range of movement, look for swelling in the joint and pain experienced through movement. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be recommended to evaluate the stage of the disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the HipTreatment

A good podiatrist will suggest the following treatment methods:

  • Anti-inflammatory, pain relief and prescription medication that can help slow the spread of the illness.
  • Rest and applying ice to the area.
  • Walking aids may be advised for severe cases.
  • Your podiatrist can recommend certain exercises to improve your range of movement.
  • Surgery may be recommended in some cases. The most common procedure performed for rheumatoid arthritis is the fusion of the affected joints.


There is no known way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, as the causes are presently unknown. There are several ways to reduce your risk of major joint damage after a diagnosis of this condition:

  • Consult with your podiatrist as soon as you have any symptoms.
  • Speak with your podiatrist about a program of gentle stretches and strength movements to reduce pain and strengthen the hip.
  • Rest from exercise during the periods you are experiencing the most pain.
  • Avoid smoking.

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