Osteoarthritis of the hip

An example of osteoarthritis of the right hip. In comparison, the normal  “ball and socket” of the left hip is preserved

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints in the body and frequently affects the hip. The hip is a ball and socket joint. Normally the surfaces of the head of the femur (the  ball) and the side of the pelvis (the socket) are covered with cartilage which provides a smooth, slippery surface allowing painless movement. In arthritis this cartilage becomes worn away and the joint becomes painful and stiff. Osteoarthritis is common and affects 10-20% of people over the age of 65. Osteoarthritis can be inherited or follow an injury but often the cause is unknown.

Treatment options include lifestyle modification, weight loss if appropriate, physiotherapy, painkillers/anti-inflammatory drugs and surgery. Surgical treatments include total hip replacement or hip resurfacing (the Birmingham Hip). These operations are described in more detail in the hip surgery section.  For more information on arthritis of the hip click on the links below:

Arthritis Research Campaign: www.arc.org.uk/about_arth/booklets/6018/6018.htm