Correlates of hip cartilage defects: A cross-sectional study in older adults

Harbeer G. Ahedi, Dawn A. Aitken, Leigh C. Blizzard, Chang-hai H. Ding, Flavia M. Cicuttini, Graeme Jones

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Knee cartilage defects are a key feature of osteoarthritis (OA) but correlates of hip defects remain unexplored. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to describe the correlates of hip cartilage defects. Methods. The study included 194 subjects from the Tasmanian Older Adult Cohort who had right hip short-tau inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Hip cartilage defects were assessed and categorized as grade 0 = no defects, grade 1 = focal blistering or irregularities on cartilage or partial thickness defect, and grade 2 = full thickness defect. Hip pain was determined by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Hip structural changes were measured on MRI, and hip radiographic OA (ROA) was assessed. Leg strength and physical activity were assessed using dynamometer and pedometers, respectively. Data were analyzed using log binomial and linear regression. Results. Of 194 subjects, 24% (n = 48) had no defects, 34% (n = 66) had grade 1, and 41% (n = 80) had grade 2. In multivariable analyses, any hip defects were associated with greater hip pain [prevalence ratio (PR) 1.20, 95% CI 1.02-1.35] and lower mean leg strength (men; mean ratio 0.83, 95% CI 0.67-0.98). Grade 1 defects were associated with hip bone marrow lesions (BML; PR 1.42, 95% CI 1.03-1.96) and high cartilage signal (men; PR 1.84, 95% CI 1.27-2.70), but not with hip pain or other structural findings. Grade 2 defects were associated with greater hip pain (PR 1.40, 95% CI 1.09-1.80), hip BML (PR 1.45, 95% CI 1.15-1.85), hip effusion cross-sectional area (PR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01-1.30), hip ROA (men; PR 1.60, 95% CI 1.13-2.25), and steps/day (PR 0.97, 95% CI 0.96-0.99). Conclusion. Grade 2 defects in both sexes and grade 1 defects (mostly in men) are associated with clinical, demographic, and structural factors relevant for OA. Damage to the hip cartilage could be one of the major causes of rapid disease progression and pathophysiology of hip defects. The topic needs further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1406-1412
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Cartilage defects
  • Hip osteoarthritis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Population-based study
  • Structural changes

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