High bone mass and cam morphology are independently related to hip osteoarthritis: findings from the High Bone Mass Cohort

B E Zucker, R Ebsim, C Lindner, S Hardcastle, T Cootes, J H Tobias, M R Whitehouse, C L Gregson, B G Faber, A E Hartley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: High bone mass (HBM, BMD Z-score ≥  + 3.2) and cam morphology (bulging of lateral femoral head) are associated with greater odds of prevalent radiographic hip osteoarthritis (rHOA). As cam morphology is itself a manifestation of increased bone deposition around the femoral head, it is conceivable that cam morphology may mediate the relationship between HBM and rHOA. We therefore aimed to determine if individuals with HBM have increased odds of prevalent cam morphology. In addition, we investigated whether the relationship between cam and prevalent and incident osteoarthritis was preserved in a HBM population.

METHODS: In the HBM study, a UK based cohort of adults with unexplained HBM and their relatives and spouses (controls), we determined the presence of cam morphology using semi-automatic methods of alpha angle derivation from pelvic radiographs. Associations between HBM status and presence of cam morphology, and between cam morphology and presence of rHOA (or its subphenotypes: osteophytes, joint space narrowing, cysts, and subchondral sclerosis) were determined using multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, height, weight, and adolescent physical activity levels. The association between cam at baseline and incidence of rHOA after an average of 8 years was determined. Generalised estimating equations accounted for individual-level clustering.

RESULTS: The study included 352 individuals, of whom 235 (66.7%) were female and 234 (66.5%) had HBM. Included individuals contributed 694 hips, of which 143 had a cam deformity (20.6%). There was no evidence of an association between HBM and cam morphology (OR = 0.97 [95% CI: 0.63-1.51], p = 0.90) but a strong relationship was observed between cam morphology and rHOA (OR = 3.96 [2.63-5.98], p = 5.46 × 10 -11) and rHOA subphenotypes joint space narrowing (OR = 3.70 [2.48-5.54], p = 1.76 × 10 -10), subchondral sclerosis (OR = 3.28 [1.60-6.60], p = 9.57 × 10 -4) and osteophytes (OR = 3.01 [1.87-4.87], p = 6.37 × 10 -6). Cam morphology was not associated with incident osteoarthritis (OR = 0.76 [0.16-3.49], p = 0.72).

CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between cam morphology and rHOA seen in other studies is preserved in a HBM population. This study suggests that the risk of OA conferred by high BMD and by cam morphology are mediated via distinct pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hip Joint/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip/diagnostic imaging
  • Osteophyte/diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Sclerosis/pathology


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