The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint made up of the top of the femur (thigh bone) forming the ball and the acetabulum (portion of the pelvis) forming the pelvis. The hip is surrounded by strong tendons, ligaments, and muscles that add to the stability of this joint. The structures around the joint, as well as the joint itself, can cause symptoms of varying disorders. Arthritis is a disease in which the cartilage on the end of the bones irreversibly wears away, and this commonly affects the hip joint. Conditions in the hip joint often cause pain in the groin or front of the thigh.

The specialists at Orthopedic Associates of Hartford have expertise in treating your hip disorder. Treatments may include physical therapy and rehabilitation, arthroscopy, partial or complete hip replacement, complex fracture stabilization, and treatment of deformity.

Common Conditions

Some of the most common hip problems include: 

  • Arthritisoccurs when the cartilage of a joint surface is injured. Arthritis can cause pain, swelling, and loss of motion.
  • Fracturesof the bones, or broken bones that occur as a result of a fall or more serious trauma. Stress fractures may occur due to overuse, as in excessive high impact training. In this latter condition, the bone has not completely broken, but intervention (activity modification or, occasionally, surgery) is needed to prevent a complete fracture.
  • Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) is a condition where abnormal abutment between the thigh bone (femur) and socket of the pelvis (acetabulum) leads to damage to the cartilage or surrounding structures. This can cause pain, loss of motion, catching sensations, and occasional feelings of instability.
  • Bursitisis inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that is found where tendons pass by bony surfaces. Trochanteric bursitis is a very common condition that causes pain and tenderness on the side of the hip.
  • Tendonitisis inflammation or pain along a tendon. Tendons are the structures that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons in the hip that can experience tendonitis are the hamstring tendons, quadriceps tendons, and abductor tendons.
  • Avascular Necrosis (AVN) or Osteonecrosismeans “death of bone.” This can occur in different joints of the body, but the hip is the most common site for this condition. The bone beneath the cartilage of the femoral head (thigh bone) dies, and this can lead to premature arthritis.


Symptoms associated with hip pain depend on the cause. Symptoms may include:

  • Groin pain is the #1 complaint
  • Limping
  • Difficulty donning and doffing shoes and socks
  • Loss of motion of the hip
  • Trouble getting into and out of a car
  • Tenderness of the hip
  • Difficulty sleeping on the hip

Symptoms vary in intensity from mild to severe. Hip pain can be a cause of substantial disability.


Medical History and Examination
During your first visit, your orthopedic surgeon will gather information about your general health and ask questions about the extent of your hip pain and how it affects your ability to perform everyday activities. During the physical examination, your doctor will assess hip mobility, strength, and alignment.

These images help to determine the extent of damage or deformity in your hip. 

Other Tests
Other tests, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, may be needed to determine the condition of the bone and soft tissues of your hip.

Treatment Options

There are a number of non-surgical and surgical options to restore mobility and reduce pain.

Non-Surgical Options:
There are several conservative treatments for hip pain that may include rest, non-weight-bearing, cold application, and anti-inflammatory medications. For local inflammation, sometimes injection of cortisone medication (steroids) is used to quiet the inflammation. OAH has state of the art ultrasound machines that allow for these injections to be performed in the office setting. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can be used to increase mobility and strength.

Surgical Options:
Surgical options for the hip may include arthroscopy, partial (partial hip replacement is only done for fracture in the elderly, not sure how/if to include this) or complete hip replacement, complex fracture stabilization, and treatment of deformity.

Total Hip Replacement:
In a total hip replacement, also called total hip arthroplasty, the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetic components. Learn about how a normal hip works, the causes of hip pain, what to expect from hip replacement surgery, and what exercises and activities will help restore your mobility and strength, and enable you to return to everyday activities. HipReplacement

Total Hip Revision Surgery:
A hip replacement will wear out over time and surgery to reconstruct or replace the present hip replacement may become necessary.  Subsequent surgery is referred to as revision surgery. Click here to learn about the complexities involved in hip revision surgery and what to expect.