Help for Your Aching Hip


Over the years, our joints tend to show a little wear and tear, which can translate to discomfort, pain and even loss of mobility. Fortunately, the hip joint - the body's largest joint - is designed to withstand years and years of activity. However even the hip joint is not immune to damage and can eventually fail you.

The hip joint is the connection where the head of the thighbone (your femur) swivels in a socket inside your pelvic bones. True hip pain is actually in your groin - not on your side. A cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction in the socket but over time that cartilage can wear down, causing problems.

Hip pain can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that normally cushions your hip bones. The pain worsens over time. People with arthritis also feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip.
  • Injury: Hip fractures are more common in the elderly or those with brittle bones. Muscle or tendon strain injuries usually arise from repetitive use or activity-related injuries.
  • Low Back Dysfunction: Problems in your lower back can cause pain in your hip joint.
  • Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis: SCFE a fracture through the physis (the growth plate), which is typically identified in adolescents.
  • Greater Trochanteric Tendonitis: Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons, which are thick bands of tissue attaching bones to muscles. It's usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse.

Symptoms of hip problems can include pain, tenderness, stiffness, chronic swelling, loss of flexibility, crunching or popping, and pain that gets worse with inactivity. Typically an X-ray or MRI will help your doctor determine the cause of your hip pain.

Treatment for hip pain will vary depending on your diagnosis. Below are some common procedures.

  • Hip Arthroscopy: While arthroscopy of the knees and shoulders is common, hip arthroscopy is less widely known. It can relieve symptoms of many painful problems, including damage to the labrum, articular cartilage or other soft tissue surrounding the joint
  • Total Hip Resurfacing: This is a good option for younger, more active patients. The benefits for hip resurfacing include bone retention, fewer dislocations than conventional hip replacements and fewer restrictions following surgery.
  • Partial Hip Replacement: This is also called hip hemiarthroplasty and is a surgical procedure in which only the femoral hip (the ball of the joint) is replaced. This is commonly used for traumatic hip injury like breaks and fractures.
  • Total Hip Replacement: In this procedure, the hip joint is replaced with a prosthetic implant. Typically patients undergoing total hip replacement are between 50 and 80 years old.

If you are experiencing hip pain that is not going away with rest, talk to your doctor. For more information on hip pain and treatment, visit our website.

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