Arthritis of the hip is a condition in which there is loss of the cartilage of the head of the thighbone and of the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis where the thighbone fits into the joint (the acetabulum). This cartilage allows the bone to glide inside the socket of the joint as you move. When the cartilage is damaged or lost, bone rubs against bone causing pain, tenderness and swelling (inflammation) and limitation of your ability to move freely.


Because of the damage to the cartilage, people with arthritis may feel as though their hip is stiff and their motion is limited. Sometimes people feel a catching or clicking within the hip. The pain usually gets worse when the hip joint is strained by walking long distances, standing for a long time or climbing stairs. The pain is usually felt in the groin, but also may be felt on the side of the hip, the buttock and sometimes into the knee.

Causes and Risk Factors

Arthritis of the hip usually occurs in people as they enter their 60's and 70's, but it can happen earlier than that if there are other spine condition that cause a person to compensate. This varies depending on your weight, activity level and the structure of your unique hip joint. Arthritis may be caused by many factors, including simple wear and tear, inflammatory disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, infections or injury.

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