Bone Spurs in Hip
Bone spurs in hip joints cause pain and can reduce a person’s range of motion. Bone spurs can affect other joints as well, such as the knee and shoulder joints. Bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are bony growths that develop along the edges of bones. While you can have bone spurs for years without any symptoms, pain and other symptoms develop when the bone spurs rub against other bones, causing damage.
A hip bone spur can be asymptomatic for years, but as the damage to the joint worsens, they may cause symptoms including:
Bone spurs form when the body attempts to repair the bone loss experienced when the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones breaks down, exposing the bone and increasing friction. Bone spurs in hip joints are most often caused by osteoarthritis, which is a chronic degenerative disease that wears down joint cartilage and surrounding tissues.
Your risk of developing hip bone spur increases as you age due to the wear and tear on the joints. Other risk factors for hip spurs include:
- A family history of osteoarthritis
- Being overweight
- Hip injuries
- Hip dysplasia and other structural abnormalities
Hip spur diagnosis usually begins with your doctor taking your medical history and performing a physical examination. He or she might ask about your symptoms, length of symptoms, any activities that worsen pain and family medical history.
During the physical examination, the doctor will:
- Check your hip and surrounding area for signs of injury
- Feel your hip for bone spurs, which can sometimes be felt on palpitation
- Move your leg and hip to check your range of motion
- Evaluate your walk
Hip spurs also require confirmation using diagnostic imaging tests. Your doctor may order the following tests to help make a diagnosis:
X-ray images are able to show signs of arthritis and bone spurs, as well as rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as fractures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
This type of scan produces very detailed images of your body’s soft tissues and bones. Along with diagnosing bone spurs in hip and other joints, MRI can also show cartilage, muscle and tendon damage in great detail.
Bone spurs don’t require treatment unless they are causing symptoms. There are several things that you can do to relieve hip bone spur pain and stiffness, including:
- Weight loss.
This minimizes the load placed on your hip and other joints, which can relieve pain and help to lessen future damage on the joints. If you are overweight, losing just a few pounds can result in significant improvement of pain.
- Pain medication.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and other pain relievers can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy.
Specific exercises can help improve flexibility and strength, as well as improve your range of motion.
Hip arthroscopy may be recommended if symptoms interfere with your mobility or if other treatments fail to provide relief of hip spur symptoms. This minimally-invasive procedure is performed through a dime-sized incision using a thin, flexible instrument with a camera. The surgery can be used to remove bone spurs, repair damaged cartilage and tendons, and remove loose fragments of cartilage and bone in the joints.
It is usually recommended that the least invasive treatments for bone spurs be used first before considering surgery. If the symptoms persist even at rest or cause immobility, or if you have advanced osteoarthritis, your doctor may recommend surgery sooner.