As one of the largest and strongest weight-bearing joints in the body, the hip is built to withstand a high degree of stress. However, it is not indestructible. Years of wear and tear combined with natural age-related degeneration lead to a number of problems that contribute to hip joint pain.
For many, it can be a quick transition from minor nagging aches and pains to chronic hip joint pain that seriously diminishes your quality of life and ability to perform basic activities. Not only can hip problems take you away from work and favorite activities, but it can also begin to have a negative effect on your mental health and relationships.
By understanding the underlying causes of hip pain and the full spectrum of available treatment options, you can become a more empowered patient no matter where you are in your treatment journey. If you have any questions about the following information, don’t hesitate to reach out. The team at Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America is here to help.
Understanding Causes of Hip Joint Pain
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that is built to join the upper body with the lower extremities and facilitate the full range of motion we require. The bones that comprise this joint are protected by a layer of cartilage and lubricated by joint fluid. They are connected by an array of muscles and connective tissue that enable movement, yet are very strong and resistant to stress.
However, we put tremendous pressure on this joint when performing activities such as running, walking, jumping, and even sitting or standing. This can lead to wear and tear on the hip that compounds over time, increasing the risk of injury and painful conditions. The hip joint is also subjected to natural degeneration, particularly the breakdown of cartilage and connective tissue that can lead to joint inflammation.
These forces can all work together to contribute to the following causes of hip joint pain:
- Muscle and Tendon Strains and Sprains
- Hip Fractures
- Hip Arthritis
- Hip Bursitis
For any type of hip joint pain that does not improve in a short period of time, it is essential to seek a diagnosis and treatment plan from a qualified professional.
Symptoms of Serious Hip Joint Pain To Watch For
Different conditions and injuries can cause different types of hip pain. Some conditions may cause a feeling of pain deep inside the hip joint, while others may cause symptoms in the groin or thigh.
For example, a hip stress fracture can result in both localized pain and radiating pain down to the knee or even up into the lower back. Hip arthritis can result in aches, pains, stiffness and a grinding sensation known as crepitus. A Hip flexor strain may be experienced as a sharp pain in the inner thigh.
By working with your doctor or other treatment professional to answer questions about your hip joint pain you can help him or her reach a diagnosis. Other important steps include a physical examination, movement tests and diagnostic imagery such as an X-ray or MRI.
Finding Relief from Hip Pain
Upon diagnosis, many causes of hip joint pain, such as arthritis, bursitis and strains and sprains are treated conservatively. Standard conservative treatment options for hip joint pain include:
- Over-the-counter medication, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- Pain-relieving injections
- Therapeutic injections, including viscosupplementation and platelet-rich plasma injections
The goal of conservative treatment is to both manage hip joint pain and take steps to improve function and reduce pressure on the hip. In many cases patients with hip joint pain are able to find lasting relief, but surgical procedures can become an option
Acute traumatic hip fractures are a notable exception in that they are often first treated with surgery before conservative treatments are explored. Surgery can help ensure that the fracture is set properly so that healing can occur or in some cases, that the hip is replaced.
Surgical Options Include Total Hip Replacement
The type of hip procedure recommended for patients with hip joint pain will depend on the specific condition, the patient’s overall state of health and other present conditions, as well as many other factors. In some situations, an arthroscopic repair surgery can help improve function and relieve hip joint pain. Often however, severe hip joint pain requires a total hip replacement surgery.
A total hip replacement is a procedure where the damaged surface of the hip is removed and replaced with an artificial replacement joint.Traditionally, total hip replacement procedures would typically require incisions that were 8 to 12 inches long. Advancements in minimally invasive techniques now allow incisions that are much shorter and as small as 3 to 5 inches long. Incision size will typically depend on factors including bone structure. These procedures use advanced technology and muscle-sparing as well as tendon sparing techniques, reducing blood loss and helping to promote a speedier recovery.
Patients who are candidates for total hip replacement typically experience hip joint pain and/or pain in the groin, deep buttocks and/or thigh. Generally this pain has persisted or worsened after a full course of conservative therapy. For surgery to become a serious consideration, hip joint pain and related symptoms should be limiting you from participating in daily activities such as walking, getting up from a chair, getting in or out of your car, and dressing or caring for yourself.
Many total hip replacement candidates have been diagnosed with moderate to severe arthritis. This is often referred to as “bone-on-bone” arthritis that results in severe hip joint damage.
Experience the OJRCA Difference
If hip joint pain is affecting your quality of life and holding you back from participating in activities that you once enjoyed, outpatient total hip replacement surgery may be right for you.
At OJRCA, we employ a unique pain prevention protocol that has streamlined recovery for total hip replacement. There are a wide-range of benefits to outpatient surgery, from less risk of complication to reduced hospital costs. Healthy patients of nearly any age are considered good candidates for outpatient joint replacement surgery. However, those with medical problems that require hospitalization can still benefit from the OJRCA protocol. For example, patients report less pain, require less narcotics and are up and moving faster. With OJRCA total hip replacement surgery, we are committed to delivering a lower risk of complication and a shorter recovery period.
If you’re worried about hip joint pain taking over your life, take back control. Learn more about how you can find lasting relief from hip joint pain at our state-of-the-art facilities. Contact a caring OJRCA representative today.