Thursday, 17 of January of 2019

Tag » hip pain

Don’t Let Hip Pain Slow You Down



Hip pain is a common orthopedic complaint

What do former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, singer Billy Joel, former president George Bush and golfer Jack Nicklaus have in common?  Each suffered from years of chronic hip pain until they decided to undergo successful hip replacements surgery.

At age 37, Retton was younger than most hip replacement patients when she had surgery.  But years of rigorous training, plus a congenital hip deformity, made it almost impossible for her to be active without surgery. Nicklaus was in his late 50s by the time he decided to have the procedure done. The pain from osteoarthritis had become severe enough to prevent him from enjoying golf and playing with his grandchildren.

While hip pain can be debilitating and disabling, there are many surgical and nonsurgical treatment options to take away the pain and return patients to an active lifestyle.

Hip Anatomy

The first step is to understand how the hip joint works.  One of the body’s largest and strongest joints, the hip joint is designed as a ball and socket, with the rounded end of the thighbone fitting into a socket formed in the pelvis bone.

Cartilage covers the surface of the bones and acts as a cushion to reduce friction during movement.  Muscles, tendons and ligaments connect the bones and keep the hip joint stable, allowing us to run, walk, jump, climb, turn and sit.

While the hip joint is built to handle a significant amount of pressure, accidents, degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, and activities that repeatedly overstress the joint can lead to problems.

The most common complaint is sharp or lingering pain that may begin in the hip area and radiate to the lower back, thigh, buttocks or groin.  Many people find the hip joint feels stiff.  Others experience swelling, redness or tenderness to the touch.  All of these symptoms are signs of an underlying problem that will need to be evaluated by a specialist so appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Hip Pain

Not all hip pain requires surgery.  It all depends on the reason for the discomfort. Runners, cyclists, tennis players and soccer players are often prone to “overuse” injuries, leading to inflammation and irritation of the hip tendons, or tendonitis. Pain occurs when the swollen tendon rubs against the pelvic bone. Rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, injections and physical therapy can be helpful in treating tendonitis.

Tight muscles or muscle imbalance can also cause hip pain.  Both athletes and people who sit for long periods of time, especially at a computer, are prone to tight hip flexors, hamstrings and abductors.   Stretching exercises that promote flexibility in this area can help reduce discomfort and correct imbalances.

Bursitis is another common cause of hip pain.  The bursa are fluid-filled sacs located near the joints in the body.  Like cartilage, the bursa serve as a lubricating cushion, but rather than covering ends of the bone, the bursa are located between the bone and muscles or tendons.

Bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed and irritated, making walking, climbing stairs and even crossing the legs painful.  Treatment usually includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and injections.

When Surgical Intervention is Required

Surgery is indicated for more serious causes of hip pain, including fractures, dislocation and osteoarthritis.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 10 million men and women in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, a common degenerative condition of the joints that causes stiffness, pain and disability.

Osteoarthritis is often called the “wear and tear” arthritis.  In its advanced stage, there is chronic inflammation of the joint, the development of bone spurs around the edges of the joint and the wearing away of the cartilage that cushions the bones. Osteoarthritis of the hip makes it difficult to rotate or flex your hip. Walking, sitting, climbing or any activity can be a challenge.

There isn’t a “cure” for osteoarthritis, but the discomfort and disability can be alleviated with treatment.  When nonsurgical interventions fail to provide relief, arthroscopic surgery, which can include hip resurfacing, total hip replacement or minimally invasive hip replacement, is the answer.  An estimated 230,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed in the U.S. every year.

For more information hip pain and treatment options, go to or call the office for a consultation at 239-936-6778.       

Causes of Hip Pain

The first step in treating hip pain is to determine the cause. Your age, level of activity, gender and medical history are important clues in helping the doctor diagnose the source of persistent aches and pains. For example, someone in their 20s or 30s is more prone to certain types of medical conditions than someone in their 70s or 80s.

The four most common causes of hip pain include:

Osteoarthritis. Former president George H.W. Bush, singer Billy Joel and Olympic skater Rudy Galindo are among the millions of people who have received a hip replacement due to osteoarthritis, a painful condition that causes inflammation and breakdown of the cartilage in the hip joint.

Hip Fractures. Ninety percent of all hip fractures in the U.S. are the result of falls, says the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery. In addition, women are two to three times more likely to have a hip fracture than men. That’s because women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a degenerative condition that weakens the bones and makes them more brittle. It takes a lot to break a hip bone – except when it’s been damaged by osteoporosis.

Bursitis. Repetitive stress on the hip joint from sports such as running and bicycling, work that requires standing for long periods of time, and even gardening or stair climbing can irritate and inflame the bursa. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that cushions the muscles and the bones in the hip. If you have bursitis, the pain may be worse after you’ve been sitting for long periods of time or it may wake you up at night if you happen to lie on the affected hip.

Muscle Strains and Tendonitis. Overdoing it in sports, training errors, excessive stretching, or sudden increases in the level of activity can stress the hip tendons beyond capacity or tear the muscle fibers, causing pain and swelling and loss of strength. The AAOS offers these easy suggestions to prevent muscle strains or tendonitis: warm up before stretching, stretch slowly, wear the right shoe for the sport and participate in a conditioning program that builds muscle fitness and flexibility.

Treatment for hip pain may range from rest, ice and over-the-counter medication to surgery. For a list of painful hip conditions that require surgical intervention by an orthopedic surgeon, go to

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Pain, tenderness and stiffness in your hip – what’s going on? Unlike a major trauma from a car accident or fall, the discomfort from osteoarthritis of the hip can be subtle at first. You may notice a twinge of pain or an achy feeling in your hip after tennis, a long walk or a day of yard work.

Over time, the symptoms can become more pronounced. Rather than just hurting after exercise or chores, your hip may give you trouble when you get out of bed in the morning and after you’ve been standing or sitting for long periods of time. Eventually, the discomfort may even wake you up at night, prompting you to change positions to get more comfortable. As osteoarthritis progresses, some people experience a dull ache nearly all the time, causing them to walk with a limp and making it hard to climb stairs or get up from a chair.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain in the hip that may radiate to the lower back or down the leg
  • Tenderness and swelling in the hip area
  • Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the hip joint, making it hard to move and remain active
  • Crackling, creaking or a grating sensation in the joint
  • Bone spurs may form around the edges of the joint

If you have been living with symptoms of osteoarthritis for a while, it’s time to see the doctor. About 10 million Americans have osteoarthritis, making it a very common complaint. You don’t have to live with the pain or allow it to put a limit on your enjoyment of life.

For more information about osteoarthritis of the hip, go to

Hip Arthroscopy

If you’re having hip pain that continues despite medications or cortisone injections, the doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy. This outpatient procedure allows the doctor to look inside the hip joint to find out why you’re having discomfort and difficulty walking.

The hip joint functions like a ball and socket. The ball is the top of the thighbone or femur, while the socket is part of the pelvic bone. Cartilage covers the surface of both the ball and the socket and acts like a cushion to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other. Bands of tissue called ligaments hold everything together, while synovial fluid keeps the hip joint lubricated. Arthritis, a car accident, serious sports injury or falling off a ladder can damage the various components of the hip joint.

During an arthroscopic procedure, a slender tube inserted into the hip joint transmits images to a large monitor, giving the doctor ability to see the tissues clearly to determine the degree of disease or injury. Using the images as a guideline, the doctor can then decide on the best treatment plan.

Arthroscopy is not only used for diagnosis, but also to repair the damage. Small specially designed surgical instruments can be used to trim or remove bone spurs and cartilage fragments, clear and remove inflamed synovial tissue or mend torn tendons and ligaments.

For more information about diagnosis and treatment for hip pain, go to

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