The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the leg to move in a variety of positions. The femoral head (ball) rides in the acetabulum (socket). The joint is lined with a lubricating tissue called cartilage, which cushions the joint as it moves and bears weight.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage. It typically develops after years of constant motion and pressure in the joints. As the cartilage wears away, the joint becomes increasingly painful and difficult to move. Unfortunately, cartilage does not have the ability to repair or replace itself like other tissues in the body. If conservative treatment options fail to provide relief, your surgeon may recommend total hip replacement.