Hip osteoarthritis accounted for 94% of the 60,000 primary hip replacements carried out in England and Wales during 2006/07.
It is the most common non-traumatic disorder of the hip joint in middle age and after.
The Arthritis Research Council tells us that 650,000 people in the UK have painful osteoarthritis in one or both hip joints.
A further 1.5 million have radiological evidence of osteoarthritis but may not have symptoms.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is caused by the wearing away and eventual loss of cartilage in a joint. Cartilage is a firm, pliable material that covers the ends of bones. Its purpose is to cushion any impact on the bones and to prevent them rubbing directly on each other - bone-on-bone.
There is no agreement as to the cause or causes of osteoarthritis in general, let alone hip osteoarthritis in particular. Some researchers suggest it is a disease of the cartilage itself whereas other argue it is the failure of cartilage to deal with adverse changes. A third possibility is that the condition is hereditary and that the gene responsible for making cartilage is defective. Finally, it has been argued, that the synovial fluid and joint capsule may play a role.
Osteoarthritis may also be caused by an underlying disease such as: -
Symptoms will vary with each patient. Some of the most common are: -
There is no simple blood test for osteoarthritis so your GP will first be guided by the symptoms you present and the presence of any bony enlargements or spur formations.
Blood tests along with arthrocentesis (removal of joint fluid for testing) may be performed to exclude other diagnoses.
An X-ray of the affected joint will greatly help diagnosis. If osteoarthritis is present then the X-ray will probably show loss of joint cartilage and therefore narrowing of the joint space between the bones and bone spur formation.
Further information about Osteoarthritis can be found at Arthritis Action
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