As one of the largest joints in the body, your hip joint supports your upper body as you walk, stand, run, bend and stretch. Sometimes called the “ball and socket” joint, your hip joint includes a rounded head of the femur (thighbone) that fits into the acetabulum (a socket in your pelvis).

Your femur and acetabulum are connected by strong bands of tissue called ligaments. The muscles around the joint help to stabilise your hip. A layer of cartilage cushions the ends of  the bones allowing for smooth movement in the joint.

Hips can become damaged or worn in several ways:

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a degenerative disease and is often referred to as “wear and tear” of a joint as you get older.
  • Osteoarthritis is painful, as joints become stiff and inflamed when the smooth cartilage lining the joints gets damaged. Without the protection of cartilage, the rough surfaces of your bones rub together as you move, causing the pain that is all too common for sufferers.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease. Your immune system usually fights any infection. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the cells in your joints making them stiff and swollen. In time joints can be damaged.
  • Hip trauma (fracture or broken hip) caused by an accident or fall.
  • Hip replacement is a very common procedure. Last year alone our Orthopaedic Consultants performed over 5000 hip replacements. 

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