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What is Hip Arthritis?
Hip arthritis is a condition that occurs when the cartilage wears out and the lubricating and shock absorbing capacity of a joint is lost. As a result the bones that make up the joint begin rubbing against each other with a lot of friction, which causes a lot of pain and deformity.
Arthritis can occur in any joint, but the hip joint is one of the most common, largely due to the fact that it bears the weight of your entire body with every step. The force across the hip is often more than just your body weight.In fact, when running, the hip experiences forces 200-500% of your body weight! This means that your body weight dramatically affects the force on your joints, and can have a major effect on the degeneration of a joint. Obesity cause tremendous increased force on the hip and can cause it to prematurely wear out. For example, if you stop working out, and gain 50 lbs, your joint may actually experience 200 lbs of increased stress across it. Over many years that increased stress makes a big difference.
Another cause of arthritis is a abnormal shape of the hip. This is called hip dysplasia, and is actually the major cause of hip arthritis in people under 50 years old. This condition is related to FAI (femoroacetabular impingement, see talk). A misshaped hip can also occur if the hip collapses due to a disrupted blood supply (think of bone like a flower, if it doesnt receive its nutrients through the blood, it will whither and die). This is called avascular necrosis (AVN).
Another cause of arthritis can be trauma (post-traumatic arthritis), where the normal cartilage is damaged, or the smooth surface of the joint is disrupted by a fracture.