Will an X-ray show Osteoarthritis in the Hip?

Will an X-ray show Osteoarthritis in the Hip
Will an X-ray show Osteoarthritis in the Hip?

One method a doctor may use to identify osteoarthritis is an X-ray. A doctor will also take into account other facts because X-rays might not always be able to detect osteoarthritis.

Although doctors today believe that the causes of osteoarthritis are far more complex, the condition is brought on by the breakdown of cartilage in a joint where bones meet. Bones in the joint come into contact with one another due to worn-down cartilage, which can be uncomfortable and stiffen your joint.

Where the femur bone connects to the pelvis is where osteoarthritis in the hip typically develops. This area is often covered in cartilage. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, causes cartilage to erode and cause pain and harm to your hip joint.

Continue reading to discover more about X-ray interpretation, what to anticipate during an X-ray procedure, and other tests that doctors may use to identify hip osteoarthritis.

What does osteoarthritis look like on an X-ray?

A ball and socket joint makes up your hip joint. Your leg can move in many directions thanks to the femur head, which is shaped like a ball and coated in cartilage. It fits into a socket in the pelvic bone.

In a typical hip X-ray, the cartilage that supports the femur in the joint is visible in a space between the femur head and the pelvis.

The femur head can shift closer to the bone in the pelvic socket if you have hip osteoarthritis because the cartilage has worn away, making this joint space appear much narrower.

As you move your leg, the bones start to rub against one another as a result. When this occurs, trying to walk, stand, or sit may cause you to experience severe pain and stiffness. Additionally, you might notice bone fractures, femur head fragments missing, or white spots where the femur has stiffened (subchondral sclerosis).

On a hip X-ray, white chunks around the joint may also be seen in addition to damaged cartilage and bone from joint wear and tear. In addition, joint disease may have caused bone cysts or spurs to develop on your bone surfaces.

Chondrocalcinosis, the accumulation of calcium crystals in the joints, can also be seen on an X-ray. This typical osteoarthritis side effect shows up as white lines on the cartilage's surface.

Can an X-ray detect how severe osteoarthritis is?

Osteoarthritis-related wear and injury to the hip can be seen on an X-ray.

An X-ray of the hip can frequently reveal:
  • how narrow the joint space is
  • how much the cartilage has worn down
  • how damaged the femur head is
However, osteoarthritis-related cartilage degeneration may not always be seen on an X-ray.

What is the procedure for a hip X-ray?

Hip X-rays are often performed at imaging-focused radiology labs or clinics.

To get ready for a hip X-ray, not much is required. Here are some suggestions to make getting an X-ray more bearable:
  • If you need to change into a gown, choose comfortable, loose clothing that is simple to put on and take off.
  • Remove any jewellery or other metal objects that could prevent X-rays from generating clear images.
  • If you have any metal implants in your body that could affect the results of the X-ray, let the technician know.
Standing adjacent to an apparatus with a plate-like shape that can produce X-ray images is necessary for some X-rays. For the technician to move a special camera over your hip and take X-ray images during some X-ray procedures, you may need to lie down.

The X-ray image is taken while you are standing or lying still. By doing this, the clarity of the image is ensured. You can change into your regular clothes and depart the facility quickly after the technician obtains the required images.

X-rays might be available for immediate review with a radiologist or medical professional. However, you might need to make a follow-up visit to go through the results and any potential therapies.

How reliable are X-rays for detecting hip osteoarthritis?

According to 2022 research, an early diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis cannot always be confirmed by X-ray imaging.

Early structural changes, such as joint space narrowing and femur head injury, are sometimes difficult for clinicians to spot on an X-ray. You frequently experience your first observable pain at this point, as well as any changes in how you move. Many persons who suffer from this pain have no X-ray-detectable symptoms.

To determine the severity of your osteoarthritis and the extent of the joint damage, doctors need to utilise X-rays and other diagnostic procedures. This may aid them in selecting a suitable course of action, such as hip replacement surgery.

What other tests do doctors perform to look for hip osteoarthritis?

A doctor may also perform the following tests and treatments to look for hip osteoarthritis:
  • physical exam
  • discussion of your symptoms, including the intensity of your discomfort and how you are moving
  • examine your risk factors, including your age, weight, and family history
  • a comparison of your leg lengths
  • a close inspection of how you walk
  • further imaging, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to examine the nerves and blood vessels surrounding the joint
  • blood tests to check for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms


Hip X-rays and other diagnostic procedures are typically carried out by doctors to check for hip wear indicators.

If detected early, osteoarthritis is comparatively simple to cure. If you have a lot of pain and stiffness when you walk, see a doctor to have X-ray imaging and other testing, and find out what to do next to treat the underlying problem.


Can an X-ray show hip osteoarthritis?

Hip osteoarthritis cannot usually be definitively diagnosed using X-ray pictures.

Is it OK to walk with hip osteoarthritis?

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for hip arthritis.

Is sitting bad for hip osteoarthritis?

The primary factor contributing to the detrimental effects of sitting on hip joints is inactivity.

Is yoga good for hip arthritis?

Regular yoga practice can help people with different forms of arthritis sleep better by reducing joint discomfort, increasing joint flexibility, and enhancing joint function.

Can you live with hip arthritis?

Hip arthritis is usually a chronic condition

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