There are differences between degenerative (age-related, wear), inflammatory (joint degeneration by inflammatory arthritic desease, see below), traumatic (fracture, muscle or legement rupture) and posttraumatic disorders (joint incongruencies after healed fractures or bone necrosis, see below) of a joint. They all end in a joint incongruency, affecting daily painfree use.
OSTEOARTHRITIS: This is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones wears away and the bones then rub against each other. Over time, the joint slowly becomes stiff and painful. Unfortunately, there is no way today to prevent the development of osteoarthritis. It is a common reason people undergo joint replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis may also be caused or accelerated by subtle irregularities in how the joint developed in childhood.
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: This is a disease in which the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflammated and thickened. This is an autoimmune process that can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed “inflammatory arthritis".
POST-TRAUMATIC ARTHRITIS: This can follow a serious joint injury like fractures and / or muscle/legamentous tears. Fractures of the bones that make up the joints may damage the articular cartilage over time resulting in joint incongruency followed by degeneration of the cartilage because of eccentric wear. This can causes pain and limited joint function.
Special hip joint pathologies
AVASCULAR NECROSIS : Dislocation, fracture or infraction of the femoral head due to trauma may damage the blood supply to the femoral head. This is called avascular necrosis. The surface of the femoral head collapses and joint incongruency and secondary osteoarthritis can result.
CHILDHOOD HIP DISEASE : There are some specific childhood hip diseases, like dysplastic hip syndrome. Even though these conditions can be successfully treated conservatively or surgically during childhood, the risk of causing osteoarthritis later on in their life is increased because the hip did not grow normally, resulting in incongruent joint surfaces.