A woman doing a hip stretch on a yoga mat

Hip Arthritis Treatment: 13 of the Best Options

If you are experiencing hip pain from arthritis, this guide is for you. Learn about 13 of the best hip arthritis treatment options here.



Arthritis affects 58.5 million people in the US and is the most common cause of a work disability.

Do you often experience pain in your hip? You might have hip arthritis! 

Hip arthritis occurs when there's damage in your hip joint. This results in the barrier between your bones deteriorating, causing pain when the two bones rub against each other.

Symptoms include weakness, stiffness, and pain in or around the hip area. Unfortunately, there are no cures for this condition, but with the right hip arthritis treatment, it can become more manageable. This article covers the best treatments for hip arthritis.

Read on to discover how to relieve hip pain through surgical and non-surgical treatments.

How to Treat Hip Arthritis Without Surgery

Arthritis of the hip can be painful and debilitating. Your hips are essential to your overall mobility. If left alone, hip arthritis could become so bad that you cannot move without aid.

Hip arthritis can also affect other parts of your body. With deformed joints, your pelvis will start to tilt forward. This results in extra pressure on your lower spine, leading to back pain.

The two most common types of arthritis in the hip are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some treatments cover both types, while others may only work for one. Here's how to treat hip arthritis without surgery:

White pills spilling out of a bottle

1. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Medications

Pain relief is often a patient's main concern when it comes to dealing with arthritis. Arthritis causes the joints to become inflamed, which is what causes pain and discomfort. This is why pain management has become a crucial treatment for hip arthritis without surgery.

The level of pain can range from mild to severe. This can vary depending on the person's age and the progression of their condition.

You may opt for an oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug if you struggle with pain. People with mild symptoms may receive ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. If you have moderate or severe pain, your doctor may prescribe tramadol or duloxetine.

A person putting cream on their wrist

2. Pain Relief Cream

Certain topical creams can offer some relief from hip pain. Analgesics are most efficient for arthritis as they help reduce joint inflammation.

Topical anti-inflammatories work in the same way as oral medication. The only difference is that it can target problem areas.

This means there's less anti-inflammatory in your body. This can be a good option for those who want to avoid side effects from oral medication.

A man placing a red light therapy device on their hip area

3. Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is emerging in the beauty industry to treat wrinkles, scarring, and acne. However, many studies suggest that it can also help with arthritis-related pain.

Infrared light penetrates the skin without needing to cut it open. This light can stimulate cells, promoting the production of antioxidants and lowering inflammatory markers. Low and high-intensity light therapy can relieve pain and increase function in affected joints.

A man holding a TENS unit with electrodes on his lower back

4. TENS Therapy

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This therapy uses a battery-operated device that delivers a mild electric current through your body. This small device can help with acute and chronic pain and is often used for periods and back pain.

The electric shocks administered by the TENS unit stimulate nerves in the body. This releases endorphins, a chemical that has a happy and pain-relieving effect. Some medications for hip arthritis can provide endorphins, but TENS therapy does so without the risk of addiction.

TENS therapy also helps with pain gating. Our bodies have large nerve fibers that respond to touch or stimulation. We also have smaller nerve fibers that receive pain signals.

By stimulating the large nerve fibers, the brain can inhibit pain signals from small fibers. This works in the same way as rubbing an injured area for pain relief. Learn more about this in our TENS therapy guide.

A woman using a hot/cold wrap on her hip

5. Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy is the oldest and easiest way to manage pain at home. Heat therapy helps dilate the blood vessels and promote blood flow to the affected area. You can use dry heat in the form of heating pads or heat lamps.

Soaking in a warm bath can also provide relief for arthritis-related pain. Remember to be careful when using heat. Ensure your bath is not so hot that it can scald your skin.

If you're using a heating pad, consider wrapping it in a towel or old t-shirt first. Apply heat to the area for at least fifteen minutes to enjoy the full benefits.

If you feel sore, use cold therapy to numb the area. This also helps with reducing swelling and inflammation. Cold therapy helps best with an arthritis flare.

You can use frozen meat or vegetables instead of an ice pack if you don't have one. After using cold therapy, compress the area with a bandage and elevate it. You can do this when preparing for sleep.

A person applying kinesiology tape to a person’s hip

6. Compression

Hip braces are often used after surgery to promote healing and keep the hips level. However, they can also help with hip pain from arthritis. Bracing for hip arthritis is also known as offloading and unloading.

The brace stabilizes the affected joint, aligning it to prevent the weight from falling too much on one side. A hip brace can help with pain by decreasing internal rotation and abduction in your hip.

Compressing your hips also increases blood flow to the area to reduce swelling. The best part about hip braces is that they're lightweight, so that you can wear them under your normal clothes. Some doctors may advise patients to wear their hip braces for 24 hours.

You can also achieve the same benefits with kinesiology tape. Since there are many ways to tape a hip, it's best to talk to your provider about this first. These methods can help manage pain throughout the day if you're always on the move.

A man using a rollator to step over a curb outside

7. Walking Aids

A walking aid may be beneficial if you find it difficult to walk or stand due to pain. Osteoarthritis usually only affects one hip, while rheumatoid arthritis affects both simultaneously. Depending on the severity of the pain, you may find it difficult to put your weight on one or both legs.

Physiotherapists usually recommend walking aids to patients who need extra support and security. Here are the different types of waking aids for arthritis.

Walking Cane

A walking cane provides a single point of support to improve the user's balance. Some canes are adjustable so that you can adjust them to your height. When choosing a walking cane, stand upright and place your arms on both sides.

The perfect cane should reach your wrist. Adjustable canes can help if you like wearing different shoes that may alter your height. Ensure that the tip is sturdy and that you can replace it if needed.

Hold the cane on the opposite side of the leg that needs support. Always step with the good foot first, then place all your weight on the cane before stepping with the bad foot.

Walker or Rollator

Walkers have four legs and must be held on both sides. Some walkers may come with two or four wheels, and the right choice may depend on your body strength since you will need to lift the walker. Most walkers have an adjustable height.

However, when choosing a walker, you should ensure the width is right for you. You may benefit from a rollator if you have good balance and a steady gait.

A rollator is a four-wheeled version of a walker. It also comes with brakes and a small seat. Some units have baskets that can help carry light groceries or other items the user might have.

Of course, these aren't your only options. Check out our guide on how to choose a mobility aid.

A weight scale up close

8. Weight Loss

A high body mass index can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. If you already have arthritis, excess weight could strain your muscles and joints.

Combining weight loss exercises and other forms of treatment is an effective way of alleviating hip pain.

Losing weight reduces the stress on your hips. This can improve your joint mobility and can make movement less painful. If you're overweight, consider talking to your healthcare provider.

They can direct you to a dietician who will develop an achievable weight loss plan. They may also recommend an exercise program that will help strengthen your muscles.

An elderly woman holding a yoga mat

9. Exercise

Doctors tell you it's important to keep exercising after injuring the area. Exercise not only helps improve strength and flexibility in the affected joints. It can also slow the progression of arthritis.

That doesn't mean you should sign up for a hardcore weight-lifting program. Low-impact exercises are less likely to strain your muscles and are effective. If you can't remember the last time you exercised, try something gentle like yoga or tai chi.

This also allows you to meditate and overcome negative feelings or emotions about your condition. Swimming is another way to exercise your joints without straining them. Even a ten-minute walk every morning can help you get stronger and relieve pain.

An elderly couple walking in a park

10. Lifestyle and Movement Modifications

Take a look at what activities cause pain flares. Do you feel more pain in your hip when you sit or stand for too long? Does it hurt when you sleep in a specific position?

Knowing what triggers your pain can help you take the necessary steps to avoid them. Of course, that doesn't mean you should avoid activity in the affected area altogether. As mentioned, regular light exercise is crucial to maintaining health and managing pain.

Instead, take frequent breaks or practice low-impact exercises. This will help you work out the area without damaging the joint.

An elderly man using a walker with a physical therapist supporting him

11. Physical Therapy

Talk to a physical therapist if you're unsure how to start exercising. They can devise a routine that works for you and minimizes damage to your hip joint. Physical therapists specialize in rehabilitating damaged muscles and joints.

They can prescribe stretches and simple exercises to strengthen the hips. A physical therapist will guide you in doing these exercises correctly so that you can replicate them at home. Let them know what kind of exercises you enjoy so they can incorporate it into your regime.

Surgical Options

Certain types of therapy can only help so much. If non-surgical treatments aren't effective, talk to your doctor about surgery. Your doctor may start with a physical exam and some tests to determine your eligibility for surgery.

They may also consider other factors like your condition's severity and age. The two common surgical options for hip arthritis are the following:

A group of doctors in a huddle

12. Total Hip Replacement

As the name suggests, total hip replacement is removing the hip joints. The balls and sockets are then replaced with a prosthetic model. This procedure works for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, though the latter is more common.

The implants consist of three different parts. The ball is often made of ceramic or polished metal, while the sockets contain a plastic liner and chrome or titanium. The stem, which goes into your natural thigh bone, is metal.

A surgeon holding a tablet in a surgery room

13. Hip Resurfacing

Hip resurfacing focuses on removing damaged cartilage and bone. The surgeon will create a prosthetic shell to cover the remaining bone and cartilage.

Hip resurfacing is only recommended for patients younger than 65. Older patients usually have weaker bones, which can complicate the surgery

What Not to Do With Hip Arthritis

Certain activities can aggravate your joints and cause pain to flare up. If you have hip arthritis, try to avoid the following things:

  • Avoid high-impact activities like running, jogging, or jumping
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Avoid standing or sitting in one position for too long
  • Avoid using shoes with poor cushioning or support
  • Don't ignore pain
  • Don't neglect weight management

These simple changes in your lifestyle can improve your symptoms. Managing your weight and exercising regularly can help you move around freely.

For more information on exercises to avoid with hip arthritis, read our other article, where we interviewed health experts on common exercises that trigger arthritis pain.

Hip Arthritis Treatment: Living With Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis is a life-long condition, but it shouldn't prevent you from enjoying life. The right lifestyle changes and hip arthritis treatment can help you overcome pain and make it more manageable. Start today by doing some simple stretching and exercises.

Most treatments for hip arthritis without surgery can help you achieve more strength and mobility. If that doesn't work, talk to an expert about surgical options. If you're interested in mobility aids or pain relief units, contact us today ,to learn about your options, Hip injury and hip pain relief product.

About the Author

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Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

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Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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