If you are experiencing hip pain that is affecting your daily life, it is important to know that you don’t have to live with the pain and that there are treatment options that can help you stay mobile and pain free.
There are many conditions that can lead to hip pain. Where you are experiencing pain is the biggest clue to what is going on. Problems with the joint itself tend to exhibit pain on the inside of your hip or in your groin area. Pain on the outside of the hip usually points to problems with soft tissue.
The majority of hip pain in adults age 65+ is the result of osteoarthritis – or the wearing down of cartilage in the joint. Pain in the groin and front of the thigh are the most common symptoms of hip arthritis, usually felt when walking or twisting.
Receiving a Diagnosis
In order for your doctor to properly diagnose your hip pain, you must make note of a few things:
- A description of your hip pain, including whether you are experiencing tenderness, swelling, aching or a burning sensation.
- A log of when the pain started and how long it has persisted.
- A note of when the pain feels better or worse along with what activities or movements aggravate the hip.
After assessing your symptoms, your doctor will be able to conduct a thorough exam, including an X-ray, to properly diagnose your hip pain and help you make a treatment decision.
Treatment Options for Hip Pain
Hip pain due to arthritis can be treated with conservative measures like rest, activity modification, and weight loss. Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help to relieve hip pain. Steroid injections can also help to reduce inflammation for a short period of time.
These conservative methods of treatment will help relieve the pain but will not reverse the damage already done by arthritis. If you still experience pain, your doctor might recommend surgery.
Depending on your diagnosis, you might be a good candidate for hip replacement surgery. When pain is constant and arthritis is more advanced, hip replacement surgery can help to dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life. Today, over 200,000 total hip replacements are performed each year, and this number is projected to increase as we continue to remain active and live longer. A hip replacement consists of removing damaged cartilage from the hip socket as well as the ball at the upper end of the thigh bone and replacing it with prosthetics. This surgery is called a total hip replacement. There are several variations to how this procedure is performed; however, the results are consistently excellent. Today’s artificial hips can last for decades, so there is a good chance you might never need surgery again.
Recovering From Hip Surgery
If you do decide that hip replacement surgery is for you, you might wonder about the recovery process. In general, the healthier you are, the faster your rehabilitation and recovery are likely to be. Patients are able to place full weight on their new hip immediately after surgery. Physical therapy can assist with gait training and strengthening exercises. Most patients can walk normally, without a cane, four to six weeks after surgery. Once you are fully recovered, you will be able to enjoy your life pain-free and enjoy the activities you love.
If you are experiencing hip pain, talk to a hip specialist about your case and treatment options. Maintaining your mobility is so important to your long-term health. Addressing and treating your pain now can improve your quality of life and help to have a more active lifestyle.
Dr. Obinna Adigweme is an orthopedic surgeon specialized in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of hip and knee pain. Learn more at ucfhealth.com.