Arthritis, also called osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis, involves the swelling and damage of the body’s joints. The condition causes pain, stiffness, and limits joint movement. Because the hips are major weight-bearing joints, they are at risk for osteoarthritis.
Increased age is the strongest risk factor for osteoarthritis, but there are also other causes. Some people inherit defective cartilage, increasing their risk for the disease. Injury to the joint, such as from repetitive motions, can also lead to arthritis. In addition, obesity forces the hip joints to carry extra weight, stressing the joints and leading to damage.
Cartilage is a smooth, protective tissue that cushions the joints and allows them to move freely. Cartilage may deteriorate over time. As it loses its cushioning ability, heavy use or injury may speed its deterioration. Eventually, as cartilage wears away completely, bone rubs against bone.
Bone Spur Formation
This damage promotes painful new bone growth along the edges of the joint. These lumpy areas of bone, called bone spurs or osteophytes, develop over several years.
An arthritis sufferer may feel as if his hip is stiff or his leg motions are limited. Pain may be felt in the hip, inner thigh, buttocks or even in the knees. Severe arthritis may create pain at all times, even when at rest.
In the early stages, medication, weight loss and other lifestyle changes may relieve some symptoms. When it becomes bad enough to severely interfere with normal activities, total replacement or hip resurfacing with metal or ceramic components may be required.