Physical examination: Your orthopaedic doctor will test the hip’s range of motion and examine it for swelling and pain points. Your doctor will also test for muscle weakness, because muscles play an important role in protecting the hip joint from osteoarthritis. The physician may also assess a person’s stride and other hip movements. These physical examinations are preliminary treatment method to make a diagnosis. If this is found insufficient, further tests or examinations are made available. These diagnostic tools provide additional information that can reveal the extent of the hip arthritis and/or rule out other possible causes of the patient’s pain.
Radiological: X-ray: Cartilage doesn’t show up on X-ray images, but cartilage loss is revealed by narrowing of the space between the bones in your joint, X-ray shows bone spurs around the joint. Bone spurs are a normal sign of aging almost everyone over age fifty has some but they may proliferate as bones try to compensate for cartilage loss. These growths can create additional friction that can lead to pain. X-rays may show significant signs of hip osteoarthritis and yet the patient may not be in pain.
MRI: An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage. An MRI isn’t commonly needed to diagnose osteoarthritis but can help provide more information in complex cases. An MRI is ordered if the doctor finds X-rays to be inconclusive or the doctor suspects something other than osteoarthritis as damage to the hip bone. An MRI is not required in most cases as it is time-consuming and expensive than X-rays.
Ultrasound: It proves beneficial in evaluating the soft tissue structures that surround the hip joint such as tendons, muscles and end of labrum. It shows an abnormal increase in synovial fluid.
Lab test: Done to rule out infection or types of inflammatory arthritis which can be one of the reasons for hip pain. It requires a small amount of blood or a sample of fluid from hip joint.