Weighing in on hip OA

The incidence of hip osteoarthritis could be influenced by reducing acetabular deepening through weight management, an MRI study suggests.

The findings of the study led by Flavia Cicuttini from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Melbourne also cast fresh doubt over the clinical significance of the lateral centre edge angle as a predictor of hip OA.

Published in this week’s Arthritis & Therapy the researchers followed the BMI, weight and weight gain of 141 adults for 17 years before they had an MRI. Participants had an average age of  66.7 and did not have diagnosed hip OA.

They discovered that current BMI, weight and weight gain was associated with acetabular depth and lateral centre edge angle (LCEA) — both markers of acetabular over-coverage.

For every one millimetre increase in acetabular depth femoral cartilage reduced by 59 mm³, the researchers reported.

Greater acetabular depth was associated with an increased risk of cartilage defects (OR 1.22, p=0.02) and bone marrow lesions (OR 1.29, p=0.04) in the central region of the femoral head.

However no association between the LCEA and structural abnormalities within the hip joint were found, suggesting that an increased LCEA “does not adversely impact on hip structure, despite it’s notoriety as a measure of acetabular over-coverage or pincer deformity,” the authors wrote.

In a gender group sub-analyses, the associations only remained significant for females but not males.

“It may be that post-menopausal bones and the concurrent reduction in bone mineral density may make the female hip particularly susceptible to  bony remodelling, such as the changes that result in acetabular over-coverage,” the study authors suggested.

Although their findings required further investigation, reducing acetabular deepening through weight management might help reduce the incidence of hip OA, they concluded.

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