The clinical and radiographic features of hip disease in 76 patients with definite ankylosing spondylitis have been studied. Symptomatic hip involvement occurred late in the course of the disease, with a mean delay after the onset of 12 years in males and 7 years in females. Patients with disease onset before the age of 20 developed hip symptoms at an earlier stage. Associated diseases included uveitis (13%), colitis (4%). Bilateral concentric loss of hip joint space with a relatively undeformed femoral head was the commonest radiological change (61%). Localised loss of joint space at the upper pole (16%) was associated with femoral head destruction and a greater degree of osteophytosis, suggesting coincidental or secondary osteoarthrosis. Bony ankylosis of the hips (10%) was present only in women, and the absence of osteophytes, cysts, and bone lesions of the iliac crests and ischial rami suggests that it is a distinct radiographic manifestation of female ankylosing spondylitis.
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