The Hip and Knee joints, like most joints in our body, are comprised of bones lined up with a smooth shinny layer of ‘polish’ known as cartilage. This cartilage allows for a low friction and high resilience movement to occur between two bones.
To protect the polish(cartilage) from premature wear during movement, we have been given ‘shock absorbers’ between the two polished surfaces. In the Hip, this is known as the acetabular labrum and in the Knee they are called the meniscus.
Further, some ‘lubrication oil’ known as synovial fluid is secreted by the lining of the joint making movement in the joint extremely efficient often making the joint last five or six decades or more before arthritis sets in.
Arthritis or Arthrosis is a term commonly used to describe inflammation and degeneration of a joint. Whilst there are various causes for arthritis, the most common form that we see in our community is degenerative, or simply ‘wear and tear’. This is commonly known as Osteoarthritis.
This usually involves the polish (cartilage) getting eroded away. Sometimes it may start much earlier with a tear in the meniscus causing its shock absorber ability to fail and overload the cartilage which, over time wears away. This often manifests as pain, swelling, stiffness and limitation of activity. Swelling, cysts and spurs are all part of the same process and usually seen in arthritis.