There is a poor link between changes visible on x-ray and symptoms of osteoarthritis. You can be in lots of pain but have minimal changes on x-ray and vice versa. Changes seen on X-ray does not mean you have to stop being active – Keeping active can help hip pain.
An x-ray is not necessary to diagnose arthritis. It is only needed if you are going to have joint replacement surgery. An x-ray can be useful if it is not obvious if the hip joint is contributing to your symptoms and your symptoms are lasting longer than 3 months.
Most people will never need a joint replacement and can manage their symptoms conservatively.
Physiotherapists are able to perform steroid injections for greater trochanteric pain syndrome, but not for hip osteoarthritis pain. Whilst injections can be very effective in the short term, research shows medium to long term relief is not often achieved, and physiotherapy is the best long-term option for pain relief. Your physiotherapist will be able to discuss if an injection is appropriate if you are being seen within the Physiotherapy Outpatient Service.
If it is too painful to walk and you are limping then a walking aid will probably help. You could try a walking stick or a pair of crutches.
You should go to A&E if you have had a serious fall or accident, if you are unable to bear any weight or unable to move your leg, or if you have hip pain alongside a fever/ generally unwell.
A clicking noise or ‘popping out’ sensation is common at the hip. This is often where the tendon flicks over the pelvis – it does not mean something is breaking and is nothing to be concerned by. Often strengthening the hip muscles can help.