DePuy Synthes

What Causes Arthritis in the Hip?

DePuy Synthes

What Causes Arthritis in the Hip?

Arthritis is a condition where the cartilage lining of the hip joint wears out, the joint begins to move less smoothly and you may begin experiencing pain, stiffness and discomfort. Activities such as walking, stair climbing, getting up from a chair or out of the car and prolonged standing may become difficult or impossible

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What is the Cause of My Hip Pain?

The most common form of arthritis of the hip is degenerative or osteoarthritis, which is usually caused by wear and tear from overuse or trauma to the hip joint. Other problems such as rheumatoid disease or an injury may also damage the hip joint. Pain along with a sensation of grinding and popping can occur in the hip joint when the cartilage is worn. One bone rubbing directly against the other produces pain. The cause of the pain may not be obvious and may feel like a pulling sensation in the groin or the pain may be felt in other joints, such as the back. Your level of pain is one of the most important indications of the need for treatment.


Osteoarthritis can have a significant impact on your everyday life. Many sufferers may be less active, gain weight, and lose sleep.

Osteoarthritis is still not completely understood and there is no cure. Different factors may play a role in OA, including age, weight, trauma or overuse. The disease, common in people over 60, can occur at younger ages. Osteoarthritis causes the normally smooth joint surfaces to wear away. This results in pain and stiffness related to inflammation and later bone-on-bone contact and wear.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, meaning it may attack any or all joints in the body. It differs from OA in the following ways:

  • Affects women more often than men
  • Can strike young and old alike
  • Causes destruction of the joint by severe inflammation

Trauma-related arthritis

Trauma-related arthritis is the third most common cause of joint damage. It results from damage to the joint from a previous injury. After the injury, bone and cartilage may not heal properly which can lead to:

  • Joint losing its natural smooth surface
  • Excessive wear on the joint surface
  • Negative impact on the blood supply to the femoral head or “ball” of the ball and socket joint (avascular necrosis, AVN)
  • Arthritis

AVN is a disabling condition that can cause:

  • Hip pain
  • Loss of movement
  • The femoral head collapsing

If you are diagnosed with AVN and the head of your femur (thigh bone) is not yet collapsed, certain medical procedures may help your body build new blood vessels and bone cells to replace the dead ones. If AVN has progressed, hip replacement surgery may reduce your pain and give you better mobility.




As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. The performance of hip replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. If you have conditions that limit rehabilitation you should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell you if hip replacement is right for you.


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