Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory disease that leads to both pain and swelling in your joints.
Overall, PsA in the hips is less common than other areas of the body. You might notice swelling and pain in smaller joints first, including your fingers and toes. In fact, it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of people with PsA will experience symptoms in the hips.
Still, if you’re experiencing hip pain and also have certain risk factors for PsA, take note of your symptoms and obtain a diagnosis from a doctor. They can help recommend a combination of medications, natural remedies, and other therapies to help reduce underlying inflammation and improve your quality of life.
If you have PsA in the hips, you may experience symptoms on one or both sides (asymmetrical or symmetrical).
PsA in the hip may include the following symptoms in the affected area(s):
- stiffness or pain
- difficulty with walking
- painful sex, especially in women
If you have PsA, you may notice these symptoms in other affected joints. Additional symptoms of PsA include:
- swelling of joints
- scaly patches of skin
- excessive fatigue
- eye redness or pain
- vision changes from eye inflammation
- symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- nail weakness, crumbling, or breakage
- swollen toes or fingers
- pain in your feet — especially in the heels
PsA is an autoimmune condition that develops when your body mistakenly identifies healthy cells as invaders, thereby attacking them. It’s also possible to have more than one autoimmune disease at once, such as IBD.
Psoriasis is linked to PsA, and many people with this skin disease go on to develop PsA, with some estimates citing a rate of
It’s estimated that PsA can develop in some people
You may also be at an increased risk of developing PsA if you:
- have a family history of autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, or PsA
- have personal history of psoriasis
- are obese
- have a history of joint infections or injuries
- struggle with long-term stress
Like other types of autoimmune diseases, PsA is
Diagnosing hip PsA may be challenging at first. This is because joint pain and swelling aren’t unique to PsA. These symptoms may also be seen in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, osteoarthritis (OA), ankylosing spondylitis, and conditions with inflammatory arthritis.
While you shouldn’t self-diagnose PsA of the hip, there are some key signs that differentiate this condition from other types of arthritis. For example, hip PsA may cause pain around the buttocks, groin, and outer thigh, while hip OA primarily affects the groin and the frontof the thigh.
Other conditions that can lead to hip pain may include muscle strains and stress fractures. A dislocated hip may occur from a recent accident or injury.
A doctor can help you determine whether your hip pain is attributed to PsA, another autoimmune disease, or a different condition entirely. They may also refer you to a rheumatologist, a specialist trained in diagnosing and treating autoimmune diseases of the joints, bones, and muscles.
While there’s no single test to diagnose PsA, a healthcare professional may help identify this condition based on the following criteria:
- your personal health history, including any infections or injuries
- symptoms of psoriasis and/or PsA
- a family history of psoriasis, PsA, or any other autoimmune conditions
- imaging tests, such as ultrasounds or MRIs
- blood tests to rule out other conditions
There’s currently no cure for PsA. Instead, the condition is largely managed with both lifestyle changes and medications. Depending on the extent of pain and inflammation in your hip joints, your doctor may also recommend therapies or surgery.
If your hip pain is significantly impacting your overall quality of life, your doctor may recommend either over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription pain medications to help you manage your symptoms.
Possible medication options for hip PsA may include:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
- tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers
- biologic injections or infusions
- topical steroids (if you also have psoriasis symptoms)
- oral steroids to reduce inflammation
Other medications may also reduce underlying inflammation that’s causing your hip pain. These types of medications are called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Along with reducing inflammation, DMARDs can help prevent PsA from progressing.
While there’s no “natural cure” for PsA, there are natural remedies and lifestyle habits that may help alleviate pain, decrease inflammation, and complement your medications. Consider talking with your doctor about:
- stretching routines, including tai chi and light yoga
- moderate-intensity exercises, such as walking and swimming
- an anti-inflammatory food diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, and vegetables
- heat or ice therapies
- stress management
- getting enough sleep at night
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as a complement to medications and natural remedies for PsA. The goal of physical therapy is to help you move better — with PsA in the hip, the focus is to help increase your range of motion so you can walk more comfortably.
Each physical therapy program is tailored to the individual, but can include the following:
- guided exercises
- assistive devices
- heat and/or cold therapies
Surgery may be an option for severe PsA in the hip that isn’t responding to other treatment measures. Your doctor might recommend a hip arthroplasty, also known as a total hip replacement.
A hip replacement is considered a major surgery, so your doctor will determine if you’re a candidate based on the severity of PsA, along with your age and overall health.
There are numerous causes of hip pain, including PsA. You may be at an increased risk for developing PsA in the hips if you have certain risk factors such as psoriasis. It’s important not to self-diagnose this condition so that you aren’t treating the wrong issue.
Even if your hip pain is notcaused by PsA, it’s still important to get a correct diagnosis as soon as possible. Letting diseases or injuries of the hip go can worsen your symptoms, and perhaps even affect your long-term mobility.