The word Arthritis is defined in the dictionary as “inflammation of the joint or joints.” Inflammation is usually in the synovium. The amount of cartilage damage and inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Normally pain is caused by inflammation in the early stages of arthritis. The cartilage becomes worn away in the later stages of arthritis and the pain often comes from the bone on bone condition when the cartilage is gone. Normally this is the time when there are very few options left to relieve the pain, except a hip replacement.
Osteoarthritis mainly damages the joint cartilage, but there is often some inflammation as well. It does not affect the internal organs. The cause of hip osteoarthritis is not known. It is often thought to be a process of wear and tear. Sometimes a previous injury or fracture can also cause osteoarthritis in the hip. Sometimes growth problems such as a shallow socket can also lead to arthritis. Also some childhood disease like Legg-Perthe’s Disease can cause arthritis in the hip. Osteoarthritis of the hip causes the cartilage to either be thinner than normal or be completely gone. The bone on bone condition of the head of the femur rubbing against the bone of the pelvic socket causes a great deal of pain. Fragments of cartilage can also float in the joint and cause inflammation leading to pain. There is currently no test available to find osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the hip is determined by a series of x-rays.
The pain from Osteoarthritis in the hip is mostly localized in the groin and/or thigh region (front, inner or outer side) and may refer to the knee as well. There even may be low back pain. The pain gradually worsens in intensity and duration until it becomes constant, even at night. The range of motion of the hip joint becomes really disabling when you can no longer put your socks on or tie your shoes.
Advanced RA in the hips resembles OA, but the joints are narrowed symetrically unlike OA. The hips look like they will almost move right right into the middle of the pelvis. This condition is called protrusio acetabulae.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease of the immune system. The joint becomes inflamed feeling hot, swollen and painful. After time, stiffness and deformity occur. The cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is unknown, but is thought to be an allergic reaction against one’s own body’s defense. It causes degeneration of the joint as well, resulting in pain and disability of the joint.
RA starts in the synovium and eventually destroys the joint cartilage. The bone next to the cartilage is also damaged and becomes very soft. RA affects many joints at one time and also affects internal organs.
Lupus is another form of arthritis that affects the hip and is mainly inflammatory.
There are blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis, but they are often not very accurate. Test results for older people over 70 often show positive for the rheumatoid factor, but often the people don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. The test, by itself, is often not very reliable.