The word Arthritis is defined in the dictionary as “inflammation of the joint or joints.” Inflammation is usually in the synovium. The amount of cartilage damage and inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Normally pain is caused by inflammation in the early stages of arthritis. The cartilage becomes worn away in the later stages of arthritis and the pain often comes from the bone on bone condition when the cartilage is gone. Normally this is the time when there are very few options left to relieve the pain, except a hip replacement.

Osteoarthritis (OA)
Illustration of Hip with Osteoarthritis and bone spurs needing a hip replacement

Osteoarthritis mainly damages the joint cartilage, but there is often some inflammation as well. It does not affect the internal organs. The cause of hip osteoarthritis is not known. It is often thought to be a process of wear and tear.  Sometimes a previous injury or fracture can also cause osteoarthritis in the hip. Sometimes growth problems such as a shallow socket can also lead to arthritis. Also some childhood disease like Legg-Perthe’s Disease can cause arthritis in the hip. Osteoarthritis of the hip causes the cartilage to either be thinner than normal or be completely gone. The bone on bone condition of the head of the femur rubbing against the bone of the pelvic socket causes a great deal of pain. Fragments of cartilage can also float in the joint and cause inflammation leading to pain. There is currently no test available to find osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the hip is determined by a series of x-rays.

The pain from Osteoarthritis in the hip is mostly localized in the groin and/or thigh region (front, inner or outer side) and may refer to the knee as well. There even may be low back pain. The pain gradually worsens in intensity and duration until it becomes constant, even at night. The range of motion of the hip joint becomes really disabling when you can no longer put your socks on or tie your shoes.

Additional References about Arthritis:

Arthritis Foundation

Osteoarthritis by the Mayo Clinic

Osteoarthritis at Wikipedia

Rheumatoid Arthritis at the Arthritis Foundation

Rheumatoid Arthritis by the Mayo Clinic

Arthritis Ltd – Your complete online resource for Arthritis!