Is hip morphology a risk factor for developing hip osteoarthritis? A systematic review with meta-analysis

Review written by Dr Joanne Kemp info

Key Points

  1. People with cam morphology and hip dysplasia have a ~2.5 times greater risk of developing hip osteoarthritis (OA) than those without.
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One in four people could develop hip osteoarthritis (OA) in their lifetime (1). They may have daily pain that impairs sleep, and prevents full participation in work, sport and exercise, and social activities (2). Over time, they often stop enjoying physical activities, put on weight, and become less fit – increasing their risk of other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (3).

Previously it was thought that hip OA developed idiopathically, without known risk factors. But in recent years it has become clear that in some people, hip morphology (or the shape of the hip joint) can potentially increase the risk of developing hip OA. If we can understand these relationships, we might be able to develop treatments that reduce the risk of susceptible people developing hip OA.

This systematic review aimed to appraise the current evidence on the associations between hip morphology and hip OA.

One in four people could develop hip osteoarthritis in their lifetime.
Clinicians should encourage at-risk patients to maintain a healthy body weight, meet the physical activity guidelines, and participate in a well-structured exercise therapy program.


The researchers conducted a very rigorous and high-quality systematic review. They searched six databases for studies that evaluated both hip shape and hip OA on radiographic images, where the study compared hip OA risk between people with abnormal hip shape

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