More than 54 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease caused by wear-and-tear inside your joints. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, including your hips. In fact, it’s a relatively common cause of hip pain in many older men and women.
Research shows the lifetime risk of hip arthritis is 25%, which means you have a 1 in 4 risk of developing hip osteoarthritis. If you already have hip pain, your risk may be even greater: One study found a large proportion of people with hip pain without arthritis wound up developing arthritis in the joint within 2-5 years.
But how does arthritis cause hip pain? And more importantly, what can you do to relieve your symptoms? James M. Lee Jr., MD, and our team at Orange Orthopaedic Associates have the answers.
Your hips are ball-and-socket joints, so-called because each joint has two main components: a rounded, ball-shaped head that fits snugly into a concave socket. The ball part is also called the femoral head, and the socket — a part of your pelvic bone — is called the acetabulum.
The surfaces of both the ball and the socket are coated with a thick layer of slick, protective cartilage. This layer helps your hips move smoothly, without sticking, stiffness, or pain. Cartilage also provides some cushioning for the joint surfaces, preventing painful friction.
The joint surface is also covered by the synovium, a thin layer of tissue that produces lubricating fluid. This fluid promotes normal, pain-free movement.
Osteoarthritis develops when the joint surfaces start to wear away over time. It differs from rheumatoid arthritis, which happens when your immune system attacks healthy cartilage cells in your joints.
Osteoarthritis tends to happen when you're older, after years of wear-and-tear have taken their toll. But it can also happen in younger people who use their hips a lot (like athletes, for instance) or following an injury or joint surgery. Obesity and smoking increase your risk of OA, too.
In OA, the cartilage that protects your joint begins to fray and thin out, creating a rough surface that causes inflammation inside the joint. As the inflammation continues, the joint degrades further, increasing pain and other symptoms like:
As cartilage wear progresses, the bony joint surfaces may develop spurs, hard growths that can interfere with joint movement and cause additional discomfort.
We can treat hip osteoarthritis with care focusing on relieving symptoms and slowing down the joint damage that causes OA symptoms. For best results, contact us for a medical evaluation at the first sign of hip pain.
Arthritis is just one possible cause of hip pain. Before prescribing any treatment, Dr. Lee performs a comprehensive exam of your hips, along with an evaluation of your symptoms, your medical history, and any lifestyle factors that could be contributing to pain.
As a leading orthopedic doctor in North Jersey, Dr. Lee uses both conservative and surgical approaches to hip pain relief, based on your symptoms. To learn about hip pain treatment options at our offices in West Orange and Bayonne, New Jersey, call us or book an appointment online today.