How does osteoarthritis affect the hips?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Osteoarthritis in the hips can cause pain and inflammation and may significantly impair your ability to walk. Hip osteoarthritis is caused when cartilage, or the protective slippery cushion of tissue that lines your hip joint, becomes damaged and unable to do its job. The hip joint is a combination of the head of the femur (or thigh bone) and the acetabulum (the pelvic joint where the femoral head fits). Over time, the joint cartilage breaks down to the point of bone-on-bone contact. This can be very painful and can lead to disability. Eventually a total hip replacement may be needed.

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