What is Hip Osteoarthritis?

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By Dr. Stefanie Yao
Published on August 8, 2013

What is Hip Osteoarthritis?

Hip Osteoarthritis is caused by degeneration of the hip joint.Osteoarthritis (or OA) is also known as degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis. OA tends to develop as we get older and can be a source of complaint for older adults due to the chronic joint pain experienced. OA of the hip and knee tend to be the most common sites of degeneration in the aging population and can have a huge impact on quality of life and on activities of daily living.

Hip osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration and gradual eroding of the surfaces of the hip joint. The process of hip degeneration tends to be due to the overloading and excessive weight bearing or twisting forces that are translated through the hip in which over time there is degeneration of cartilage around the hip joint. This degeneration of cartilage around the hip reduces the hips shock absorption capabilities which eventually leads to the wearing down of the bones surface. As the surface of the hip joint erodes, small bony osteophytes can develop around the joint which further limit hip range of motion.

Diagnosis of osteoarthritis tends to be through clinical symptoms, physical findings and radiographic imaging, however not all persons with osteoarthritis and radiographic findings have clinical symptoms and not all clinical symptoms have radiographic findings of OA.

Causes of Hip Osteoarthritis:

The cause of hip osteoarthritis is not totally known but there are factors that can place a person at a higher risk of developing hip osteoarthritis:

  • Age > 40 years
  • Being overweight
  • Genetics
  • History of injury or trauma to hip joint
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Poor body biomechanics
  • Poor core stability
  • Excessive or inappropriate activity

Stay Tuned for Part II on Symptoms and Treatments!

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