Signs & Symptoms of Hip Disease

Updated April 17, 2017

The hips are types of joints called ball-and-socket joints because the top of the thigh bone is shaped like a ball and fits within the socket of the pelvic bone. There are many diseases and disorders that can affect the hips. Some problems that cause severe pain and discomfort in the hips are; osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, osteonecrosis, and pigmented villonodular synovitis.


Osteoarthritis is also called "wear and tear" arthritis because it is a product of age and activity, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. This hip condition occurs when the cartilage facilitating hip joint movement wears thin. The first signs are stiffness and discomfort in the buttocks, groin and thigh that worsens upon activity. Eventually, the cartilage may wear away completely, causing severe pain when walking. If the condition worsens, bone spurs will develop on the edges of the joint, causing you to limp.

Inflammatory Arthritis

Three common types of inflammatory arthritis can affect the hips, according to the AAOS: rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, an immune disease affecting the joints; ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammation of the spine where it meets the pelvic bone, called the sacroiliac joint; and systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease that causes the immune system to harm the body's healthy tissues and cells. Signs and symptoms of these conditions are dull, aching pain in the hips, thigh, buttocks, and groin. The AAOS says the pain will be worse in the morning, but decrease during movement. However, it will usually get worse after rigorous physical activity.


Osteonecrosis of the hip, also called avascular necrosis, causes the hip joint to collapse after the blood vessels cut off nourishment to the top of the femur, resulting in the death of the bone. Signs and symptoms of osteonecrosis are severe pain when walking and possible limping. Individuals who have suffered hip dislocations and fractures, alcoholics and people who have had other diseases such as Crohn's, sickle cell, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pancreatitis are at risk of developing the disorder.

Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis

Also called PVNS, pigmented villonodular synovitis causes the lining that protects the hip to swell and grow. This harms the bone and joint and makes movement painful. Symptoms are swelling, stiffness and feeling like the joint is popping when moving. The symptoms can come and go over time, according to

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About the Author

Eddie Wright is a freelance writer who has worked in television and has been writing since 2004. He is the author of the novella, "Broken Bulbs," and a member of the publishing collective Backword Books. Wright has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Monmouth University