The term arthritis means “joint inflammation”. Inflammation due to arthritis affects millions of people in the UK, making it difficult for them to perform daily tasks and live an active lifestyle.
There are many different types of arthritis with osteoarthritis being the most common and most likely to affect the hip joint. Osteoarthritis is a condition that develops, as people age, causing inflammation to a joint and a break down in cartilage. This in turn deforms the joint, causing further pain, swelling and inflammation.
Inflammation at the hip
The hip joint works like a ball-and-socket with the femoral head forming the ball and the acetabulum (in the pelvis) acting as a socket. When these two joints rub together abnormally due to injury or trauma inflammation occurs at the hip joint and surrounding tissues.
Cartilage functions as shock absorber, reducing friction between joints. Once this is damaged through injury or degeneration over time the human body finds it difficult to repair and as the rate of de-generation is faster than the rate of repair. Once the cartilage is worn away, the ball-and-socket of the hip joint grind together, which over time causes inflammation, pain and permanent damage through deformation of the hip joint.
What Causes Hip Inflammation?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of hip arthritis, caused by “wear and tear” damage to the cartilage surrounding the hip joint. This affects the joint over time, resulting in painful symptoms appearing later in life.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, although less common, can affect anyone at any age. This form of Arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that causes inflammation and thickening of the synovium cartilage. This produces swelling of the joint capsule. The inflammation is painful and swollen joint capsules can lead to unstable joints.
The generally accepted view for the cause of osteoarthritis is wear and tear or a traumatic event that starts a regressive cycle of inflammation and further damage. There are some who believe that unhealthy inflammation is the root cause of the regressive cycle of degeneration. Although there is no proven cure for arthritis, treatments such as traction therapy help to ease the painful symptoms and help to maintain mobility amongst patients.