One of the main reasons that people have hip or knee pain is from arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it usually happens in weight bearing joints such as the knees and hips.
It is sometimes called degenerative joint disease. This kind of arthritis wears away the cartilage that covers the ends of each bone in a knee or hip so it is often described as a "wear and tear" disease.
The job of the cartilage is to act as a cushion between the bones and to join tissue together in the knee or hip. If you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage or cushion becomes rough and might even wear away altogether. The bones then rub against one another causing pain and slowing down or stopping movement such as walking, climbing stairs and bending down. Sometimes, you may hear a grating sound when the bones rub together. You may also experience stiffness and swelling around a joint.
These documents open in a PDF.
The hip is one of your body's largest weight-bearing joints. It consists of two main parts: a ball (femoral head) at the top of your thighbone (femur) that fits into a rounded socket (acetabulum) in your pelvis. Bands of tissue called ligaments (hip capsule) connect the ball to the socket and provide stability to the joint.
The damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. The ball (femoral head) is replaced with a metal ball and the socket (acetabulum) is replaced with a metal socket that is lined with plastic. Arthroplasty is another word for joint replacement.
The knee is the largest joint in the body. Nearly normal knee function is needed to perform routine everyday activities. The knee is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), which rotates on the upper end of the shin bone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur. Large ligaments attach to the femur and tibia to provide stability. The long thigh muscles give the knee strength.
The damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. The new joint is metal and plastic. One part of the new joint goes over the end of the thigh bone and the other part attaches to the shin bone. The knee cap may get a new surface in the operation as well. The new parts make the knee joint smooth again. Arthroplasty is another word for joint replacement.
Are you at risk for a fall? This document opens in a PDF. A checklist to help you prevent falls.