Is There A Test For Arthritis In The Hip?

Article by Zoe Russell

How Do You Diagnose Arthritis In The Hip?

Hip osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative condition that results in pain, joint weakness, instability and restrictions of movement that interfere with daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs or driving.

Your physiotherapist can diagnose hip osteoarthritis clinically through your subjective reporting. Symptoms may develop suddenly or gradually progress over time. Common symptoms include:

  • Hip joint pain or tenderness that comes and goes.
  • Typically there will be sharper pains in the groin and sometimes an ache in the front of the thigh. Many people present with hip arthritis thinking that it is a knee problem.
  • Hip stiffness, particularly in the mornings.
  • Limping when walking
  • Inability to stand on one leg without pain. For example, putting on underpants or clothes
  • Hip joint movements are restricted, especially inward rotation and hip flexion.
  • Weak hip muscles, especially during sit to stand, squatting and stair climbing.

This helps direct your PhysioWorks physiotherapist to perform physical tests to confirm the suspicion of osteoarthritis and to exclude other conditions that may present similarly:

Standard tests used to diagnose hip osteoarthritis include:

Range of Motion Testing

  • Performed in all planes of motion of the hip, this is helpful to see how much range of motion is available and if this is sufficient to perform your daily activities. This will also include assessing whether your movement is limited by lack of range or your pain.

Muscle Strength Testing

  • It is complementary to your range of motion testing to assess enough strength to support the painful joint.
  • There is good evidence to show that strengthening the muscles around the hip can improve symptoms and reduce the disability associated with a painful hip. Knowing which direction to enhance it is a crucial element to the assessment.

Functional Assessment

  • This is a crucial element to your assessment to identify your inability to perform daily activities due to your hip osteoarthritis and help guide your treatment.

Assessment of Adjacent Joints and Muscles

    • To ensure that your symptoms are only coming from your hip, your physiotherapist may assess other joints such as your Lower Back and SIJ to ensure that they are not the cause or contributing to your symptoms.

If hip osteoarthritis is suspected from your assessment, your physiotherapist may also request a hip radiograph or X-Ray to confirm the diagnosis.  In some cases, you may require further 3D imaging with CT or MRI to plan adjunct therapies or surgical replacement of the hip.

If you are concerned that your hip pain may be related to osteoarthritis, call PhysioWorks today. With same-day appointments, their expert staff can assess your hip pain and put a plan in place to help you get back to your best!

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