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Hip arthritis is a condition where the cartilage of the hip joint wears out, leaving a rough surface which rubs during activity. This leads to inflammation and pain. It has a variety of causes, and gradually worsens over time. If untreated it can cause problems with walking, muscle weakness, stiffness and low back pain.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvic bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur (thighbone).
Articular cartilage covers the surface of the ball and the socket. It creates a smooth surface that helps the bones glide easily across each other during movement.
The acetabulum is ringed by strong cartilage called the labrum. The labrum forms a gasket around the socket, creating a tight seal and helping to provide stability to the joint.
Hip arthritis is the degeneration (wearing out) of the hip joint, with loss of the cartilage which results in pain, stiffness, pain and reduced mobility.