I'm a 46-year old man with severe hip osteoarthritis. I've always been active, but now the pain gets in the way. I can't help but wonder how my hip function compares to other guys my age without arthritis. Is there any way to find out?

Maybe not directly, but we may have some information to offer. A recent study from Finland compared 27 men with hip osteoarthritis (OA) to 30 men of similar ages without OA. Hip motion and function were measured and compared.

Everyone was tested twice (on two separate days) with two to six weeks time in between the first test and the retest. Subjects stood on one leg to test standing balance. Marching in place with the knee lifting up to the hip level was another test. Stair climbing, knee bending and hip range of motion were also included.

It turned out that the men without OA were much more flexible than the men with OA. They had more hip motion, especially moving the legs out and rotating the hip in or out. Men with more hip deterioration had less motion. Men without OA also had better function when walking, climbing stairs, standing on one leg, or moving the hip.