X-rays Alone Miss Many Cases of Hip Osteoarthritis

It’s a good thing orthopedists don’t rely solely on X-rays to diagnose hip osteoarthritis (OA) because an analysis of data from two recent studies showed concern in using X-Rays alone in diagnosing hip OA in older patients.

Using clinical standard indicators for diagnosing hip OA such as pain localized to the groin or anterior hip area or provoked by internal rotation, researchers compared reports of such pain with X-ray studies. Their findings strongly indicate that many cases of hip arthritis would be missed if clinicians relied solely upon or even largely on x-rays alone. Furthermore, pain was not present in many hip X-Ray studies that showed evidence of osteoarthritis.

From both studies combined, less than 30% of patients who reported frequent hip pain displayed evidence of Osteoarthritis in X-ray results. The results of these studies is a good reminder for physicians to treat patients, not imaging studies, and suggests that healthcare providers continue to evaluate and treat patients with hip pain suggestive of osteoarthritis despite negative radiographic findings.

"The right imaging and analysis is vital to determining a proper hip pain treatment."

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