Many Americans are plagued with disabling hip and knee pain. Arthritis, a disease that can result from wear and tear on the joints, is one of the most common causes of pain.
Arthritis means wear of a joint. For example, the hip is shaped like a ball and socket, while the knee is more like a hinge. The ends of your bones are lined with a soft ultra-smooth material called cartilage. As we age, cartilage begins to wear. In some people, this wear occurs more quickly than in others. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is wear and tear disease. Gradually, the cartilage surface wears through so that bone rubs against bone. The joint becomes painful and stiff. Total joint replacement surgery is used to treat severe osteoarthritis.
Other causes of arthritis include trauma, dysplasia, osteonecrosis and inflammatory arthritis.