The hip is one of the largest joints in the body. It is a ‘ball-and socket’ joint. It is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur that is thigh bone. This ball & socket joint are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth & slippery substance that protects and cushions the bones and enables them for easier movement. There a thin film called the synovium. It produces small amount of fluid that lubricates the cartilage and supports movements.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age & above. Although there isn’t a rule for this and it can affect younger generation as well .In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the hip joint gradually wears away over time. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes rough and the protective joint space between the bones ceases. Eventually without any lubricant or soft tissue in between two bones the joint bones rub on each other. To make up for the lost cartilage, the damaged bones may start to grow outward and form bone spur called osteophytes. This leads to painfulness hip joint and the pain worsens over time.
The primary enzymes responsible for the degradation of cartilage are the matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs).These enzymes are secreted by both synovial cells and chondrocytes.
Osteoarthritis is characterised by breakdown of major molecules such as collagen and triggered by enzymatic activity in which MMP plays a dominant role. At different clinical stages of the disease the changes observed in OA include a variable degree of synovial inflammation.
Although OA can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hip and spine. The symptoms can usually be managed, but damage to the joints can’t be reversed.