Idiopathic chondrolysis of the hip. A case report

Published online: Oct 27 2007

Jens François, Michiel Mulier

From the University Hospital Pellenberg, Lubbeek (Leuven), Belgium


Idiopathic chondrolysis of the hip is a rare condition occurring mainly in adolescents and is characterised by a rapidly progressive destruction of the articular cartilage in the coxofemoral joint. Patients report intense pain, motion restriction and often limping due to shortening of the limb. The aetiology is not elucidated. Medical imaging techniques form the cornerstone for differential diagnosis. Additionally biological markers for inflammation and infections should be studied. Conservative treatment focuses on pain control and preservation of joint mobility. Because published results of surgical treatment are not conclusive and arthroplasty in young patients is controversial, there is up till now no consensus on the treatment algorithm. Some authors advocate conservative treatment until spontaneous fusion. A case of idiopathic chondrolysis conventionally managed is reported.