Hip osteoarthritis refers most commonly to age-related degeneration in the hip joint, characterized by cartilage degeneration and loss of joint space. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
Osteoarthritis typically causes hip, leg or even knee pain and can cause leg symptoms (including pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness). These symptoms can vary dramatically, causing some people to be quite debilitated while others can continue with their daily activities. Additionally, the symptoms may vary with time, where flare ups can last for several weeks to months and then improve with time.
X-rays show bones and are the best way to evaluate arthritis, however, no single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods, including medical history, a physical exam, x-rays, or lab tests.
With persistent back and leg symptoms that are unbearable or have lasted longer than a month, an MRI is often necessary. MRI scans, unlike x-rays, have the ability to illustrate damage to muscles and ligaments in the hip.
Osteoarthritis may be prevented by avoiding improper lifting, excessive body weight, repetitive strenuous activity, and smoking. However, many of the contributing factors are due to age and genetics and are not preventable.