Arthritis occurs when the smooth articular cartilage that lines the joint surfaces becomes damaged and starts wearing out. As the damage accumulates the cartilage roughens and thins, over time this can lead to pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is commonly called “wear and tear” arthritis. Whilst this so in some patients, it is now thought that there are some minor variations in shape of the hip joint. This alters the biomechanics of the hip joint, which increases the stresses on the cartilage and leads to damage.
The thought is that in the early stages, we may be able to slow the progression of the osteoarthritis, commonly called “joint preservation surgery”, thus hopefully postponing the need for more major surgery such as a hip replacement.
Depending on the severity and cause of the arthritis treatment can include physiotherapy, “viscosupplementation” injections or hip arthroscopy (keyhole) surgery to correct any structural deformity or cartilage tears.
It’s always worth having your hip symptoms reviewed, even if you think it’s “just arthritis”, as there maybe treatments to help you.