This disease frequently affects many joints, including hands, shoulders, knees and hips. It is usually part of a systemic disease which can also affect internal organs such as lungs and kidneys. Rarely, it can affect children as well as adults.
In the hip it usually presents as groin pain and stiffness. Due to the inflammation, the hip area may feel warm and tender to touch. It is often associated with a painful limp but there can also be significant pain when resting such as when in bed at night.
- swelling and pain in one or more joints, lasting six weeks or more
- fatigue and/or weakness
- stiffness following periods of immobility which gradually improves with movement
- general sickness, mild fevers, anaemia and weight loss
- fluid accumulation, especially around the ankles
Patients are generally under the care of a rheumatologist who try to manage the disease with medication. The more recent use of newer disease modifying drugs (e.g infliximab, etanercept) have certainly improved the quality of life of many rheumatoid patients.
When medical treatment fails, many patients with hip disease will require hip replacement. This is usually very successful in alleviating pain and is now associated with good survivorship of the implant.