My Condition

Hip pain (Osteoarthritis)

Around 45 patients out of 10,000 will go to their GP with hip pain each year. Of these 45, about 11 will improve within three months and about 16 at twelve months. This improvement lasts for a long time.

Pain which people think is in their hip can be from a problem in the spine or abdomen and nothing to do with the hip at all. Pain which is due to a hip problem is sometimes only felt in the knee. This is because of the way that the same nerve picks up pain sensation from different sites.

In the young adult, conditions called Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), labral tears and hip dysplasia may cause hip pain. These conditions are often related to the way that the bones developed in early life. This pain is usually felt in the groin.

In adults over the age of 45, the most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis (O.A.) As part of normal life, joints are exposed to a constant low level of damage. In most cases, the body repairs the damage itself and there are no symptoms. In osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage on the ends of the affected bones breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. The effect on a person’s function and quality of life with osteoarthritis is extremely variable.

Although it develops in previously healthy joints, normally in people over 45, it can also develop in younger people after a fracture or similar injury or when a joint has been damaged by other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout. It is twice as common in women as men, and most likely in people who are overweight or who suffer from high blood pressure.


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