As we age the cartilage between our joints wears down, causing the bones in the joint to rub against each other. This is known as osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, and it is very common in adults over the age of 50. Although osteoarthritis has the potential to affect any joint in the body, it is primarily seen in joints that bear weight, such as the hip.
In fact, the hip is a common location for osteoarthritis. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that allows for a wide range of motion only second to the shoulder. It is one of the largest joints in the human body and is surrounded by a variety of muscles and ligaments that aid in movement. The hip also bears the majority of our body weight during activities like walking, running, and exercising. When running or jumping, however, the hip joint actually absorbs about five times our body weight.
After looking at all the wear and tear the hip is exposed to on a daily basis, it makes sense why it is one of the most common locations for osteoarthritis. While there is no specific cause of osteoarthritis, joint injury, age, and being overweight are all significant risk factors. Additionally, joints that never formed properly, genetic defects in the cartilage, and participating in activities that place extra strain on the hip are also factors that can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in the hip.
Ultimately, only an orthopaedist can properly diagnose and treat osteoarthritis. Seeking treatment for osteoarthritis early on is one way to manage the condition before it progresses. Therefore, it is best to see an orthopaedic specialist as soon as you start to notice the signs of osteoarthritis. Here are some signs that you should make an appointment with your local orthopaedic specialist:
One of the telltale signs of osteoarthritis is a dull, achy pain in the hip joint. In some cases, this pain can be described as throbbing and it can even radiate into the knee, outer thigh, or buttocks. Oftentimes, pain associated with osteoarthritis is also at its worst in the morning or after remaining still for an extended period of time. However, there are various conditions that can cause hip pain, so pain alone does not necessarily mean you have osteoarthritis.
In addition to pain, another key sign of osteoarthritis is joint stiffness in the hip. As mentioned above, the ball and socket composition of the hip joint makes it one of the most flexible joints in the body. Therefore, a significantly reduced range of motion is indicative of a problem with the joint. Not being able to sit crossed legged or having problems bending over are both signs of stiffness in the hip joint.
Creptius is a term used to describe a sound or sensation of grinding, popping, creaking, cracking, or grating within a joint. This occurs when the internal joint surfaces lose their smoothness, causing disruptions in the way the joint normally functions. In some cases, crepitus can be the result of joint deformities like scar tissue or the development of bone spurs in the joint.