I'm 48-years old and just got stuck with a diagnosis of hip arthritis. I can't believe it! How many people my age have this condition and what causes it in such young adults? I thought this was an old-lady disease.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip is actually seen on X-rays taken for something else in one-quarter of all adults age 45 and older. That is a pretty significant portion of the adult population. Only about one in 10 of those adults will have any symptoms (e.g., pain, stiffness, difficulty walking, loss of motion).
Hip osteoarthritis tends to be divided into two categories: those caused by a previous injury or trauma of some kind and arthritis from degenerative processes (aging). There is one other problem that can contribute to hip symptoms, even in someone as young as you are and that is something referred to as hip-spine syndrome.
Hip-spine syndrome is made up of hip osteoarthritis and lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). Both of these are degenerative diseases that come with aging. Adults 65 and older are affected most often, but younger, active or previously injured adults can have their fair share of problems, too.
When present together at the same time, it can be difficult to sort out where the pain is coming from and what is causing it. The physician will have to take a thorough patient history and conduct several (sometimes many) clinical tests to sort it all out. Treatment is based on the final differential diagnosis.
Clinton J. Devin, MD, et al. Hip-Spine Syndrome. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. July 2012. Vol. 20. No. 7. Pp. 434-442.
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