North Hampshire Hospital
The Hampshire Clinic
Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Mr John Britton FRCS
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Information for patients undergoing orthopaedic treatment


Arthritis of the hip joint

The normal hip joint consists of a ball ('femoral head') and a socket in the pelvis ('acetabulum'). The bone in a normal hip is covered with a very smooth substance called articular cartilage, which allows the ball to run in the socket with very little friction. When a joint becomes arthritic the articular cartilage covering on the bone is lost and as a result the joint no longer runs smoothly.

There are a number on causes for a joint to become arthritic.

The most common form or arthritis is known as osteoarthritis; this is commonly called 'wear and tear' arthritis. Typically only a few joints in the body are affected.

A rarer type of arthritis is rheumatoid (or the related 'sero-negative') arthritis. In this condition many joints in the body are often affected and the damage to individual joints may be greater than that seen in osteoarthritis.

When the arthritis is mild treatment with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication may control symptoms. In rheumatoid arthritis other types of medical treatment may help control the disease. In more advanced disease where the joint has been damaged surgery may be required. Total hip replacement provides excellent pain relief in both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.


J M Britton 2007

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