NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Men with hip osteoarthritis do not demonstrate increased bone mineral density (BMD) of the femoral neck, as has been postulated. However, bone size is increased, which may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, according to a report published in the February issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases..
While clinical findings have suggested a link between hip osteoarthritis and increased BMD, the topic is still controversial. Dr. J. P. A. Arokoski, from Oulu University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues compared the BMD and bone mineral content (BMC) of 27 men with hip osteoarthritis to those of 30 age-matched healthy men. The weight and body mass indices of men in both groups were similar.
The researchers found that the femoral and calcaneal BMDs of both groups were not significantly different. In contrast, the femoral neck BMC was 18% higher in the osteoarthritis group than in the control group (p < 0.01), and the femoral neck bone width and volume were also significantly higher in osteoarthritis patients (p < 0.001).
"To our knowledge, this study is the first to show significant changes in femoral neck size in subjects with hip osteoarthritis," the investigators note. Contrary to previous findings, BMD was not increased in osteoarthritis patients, they add.
Whether the changes in BMC and bone size "have a role in the pathogenesis of hip osteoarthritis remains to be elucidated," the investigators state.