Articular cartilage is a layer of material in the joint that covers the surface of the bones on either side of the joint. It cushions them and allows them to move against each other without causing damage.

This cartilage can tear or become damaged from high-impact sports like running or jumping, as a result of friction caused by hip impingement, or from basic “wear and tear.”

Loose bodies are a common result of trauma, such as from a fall, car accident or sports-related injury. They also can be caused from degenerative disease such as osteoporosis.

Signs and Symptoms

When articular cartilage is damaged, the torn fragment will protrude into the hip joint, causing pain when the hip is flexed. As the bone material beneath the surface no longer has protection from joint friction, this injury can eventually result in arthritis, if left untreated.

Loose bodies can cause a “catching” in the joint, as the material actually floats within the joint and can interfere with normal joint motion.

Unlike other hip conditions, loose bodies are easy to detect with modern X-ray techniques.

Treatment Options

  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Arthroscopic surgery.