Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis causes pain, stiffness and swelling from the inflammation of a joint or the area around joints.

The three basic types of arthritis that may cause hip and knee pain:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis (most commonly rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis in Hips

Osteoarthritis

  • Joint disease that gets worse over time
  • Characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage
  • Does not cause swelling in joints (not inflammatory)
  • Cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip starts to erode,
    eventually allowing the bones to grind or rub together
  • Causes pain and stiffness
Arthritis in Hips

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Causes joint swelling (inflammatory condition)
  • The immune system mistakenly attacks the tissue that lines and cushions the joints
  • Cartilage wears away and the cushioning fluid in the joint (the synovium) becomes swollen
  • Inflammation causes chemicals to be released that damage the cartilage and bone
  • Causes pain and swelling
Hip Fracture

Traumatic Arthritis

  • The culprit here is a serious hip injury or fracture that can lead to a condition called avascular necrosis where the blood supply to the ball portion (the femoral head) of the thighbone is cut off
  • Lack of blood supply causes the femoral head of the thighbone to deteriorate, produce pain, and other symptoms

Other Patient Education List

  • American Medical Association
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand - ASSH
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - AAOS
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • North American Spine Society - NASS
  • American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons - AAHKS