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Hip Osteoarthritis

“Wear & Tear” Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis or “wear and tear” arthritis, is a chronic condition of the joints. While it can affect any joint, osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the hips, knees, neck, and smaller joints of the fingers. It is estimated that nearly 27 million Americans suffer from some form of osteoarthritis.

In osteoarthritis of the hips, the cartilage that covers the ball-shaped top of the thigh bone (femur) and the hip socket begins to break down. This causes pain and swelling, and can impede the normal movement of the joint. As osteoarthritis worsens, the bone beneath these layers of cartilage may begin to thicken, often breaking down and producing bone spurs that can float around in the joint itself.

The combination of the thinning of the cartilage and the degeneration of the hip bones can then lead to an inflammatory process in which proteins and enzymes develop that further damage the remaining cartilage. In the advanced stages of osteoarthritis of the hip, the cartilage wears away and the bones rub together causing greater damage to the joint and increased pain for the patient.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis most commonly affects patients over the age of 50, though it can occur in younger adults. It was once believed that osteoarthritis was simply the result of age and “wear and tear” on the body, but recent studies suggest that it is actually a disease of the joint. A variety of factors can increase a person’s risk for osteoarthritis including:

  • Gender – osteoarthritis is more common, and more severe, in women.
  • Obesity – being overweight has been tied to increased risk for osteoarthritis of the hips and knees.
  • Joint Injuries – injuries to the joint can increase the risk for osteoarthritis, particularly among athletes and heavy laborers.
  • Joint Abnormalities – osteoarthritis can be the result of abnormalities or diseases of the joint.
  • Genetics – some patients may have a genetic predisposition for certain forms of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The most common symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the hip include the following:

  • Discomfort and stiffness in groin, buttock or thigh upon waking
  • Pain flares with activity, improves with rest
  • Pain increases over time until rest no longer helps
  • Hip joint gets stiff and inflamed
  • Bones spurs might build up at edges of joint
  • Movement eventually becomes painful
  • Possible inability to rotate, flex or extend hip
  • Loss of motion can cause weakness or limping

If you believe you have osteoarthritis, our specialists can help you. Learn more about osteoarthritis treatment now. Call (630) 584-1400 to schedule an appointment.