The hip is a ball and socket joint between the upper femur and the pelvis. It is very specialised to allow movement in all directions but stability when walking and running. The surfaces are covered in cartilage - a hard wearing and low friction surface. In many people the cartilage is strong enough to last for a lifetime but it can be damaged in a variety of conditions.
The most common of these is primary osteoarthritis: this is wear and tear of the cartilage in a normal hip joint and usually has a slow but steady onset of pain.
If wear and tear is caused by another condition it is known as secondary arthritis and may be due to mishaped hips, trauma or loss of blood supply to part of the hip joint.
Other forms of arthritis can affect the hip, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
All of these conditions usually present with pain in the groin and buttock of the affect side (or sides - it is not uncommon for both hips to wear out). The pain can travel down towards the knee but rarely beyond it. Initially the pain is present when active, such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs. At this stage simple painkillers will often help. As the wear worsens, it is often more difficult to find painkillers that will alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, at the same time, the pain often starts to be present with shorter walks or even at rest. It is at this point that more significant treatments, such as hip replacement, begin to be worth consideration.
Mr Miles will carefully go through a detailed history, including specific questions about your pain and your function. He will also examine your hip and leg. A simple X-ray will often help in the diagnosis so is usually requested. Once all of this information is available, you will be able to discuss the best treatment options for you with Mr. Miles.