The Many Faces Of Hip Pain

Due to sedentary lifestyles, inflammation, and soaring obesity rates, hip pain is a growing concern. If left untreated, hip pain can become much more severe, limiting movement, function, and overall health. Activities like sports, playing with children, and work become more complex. In some cases, severe joint pain might be due to an underlying issue like arthritis. At this point, hip pain sufferers must decide on a long-term treatment strategy, which may include a joint replacement.


Why early intervention matters

Hip pain can be subtle at first. Common signs include pain when stretching or performing simple movements and crepitus. Over time, pain intensifies when performing basic activities like climbing stairs, walking, or running. Hip pain can also impact surrounding muscles like the glutes and hamstrings. Pain is often a sign of a worsening condition like osteoarthritis (OA), hip fractures, bursitis, or labral tears. Early intervention can help slow the degradation of the joint. Treatment for mild to moderate hip pain includes painkillers, physical therapy (PT), and stretching. Adopting a healthy diet and incorporating exercise also helps. Early intervention also improves the quality of life and supports any future hip procedures.

Is a joint replacement the solution?

Without proper treatment, the hip can deteriorate quickly, leading to more pain and instability. In some patients, even consistent use of non-surgical methods eventually fails. At this point, a doctor will suggest surgery in the form of a joint replacement. The surgery consists of removing part or all of a damaged joint. A prosthesis is then inserted to mimic the joint’s movement and function. The replacement is made of metal, plastic, or ceramic material of varying sizes based on the patient’s anatomy. By removing the damaged cartilage and bone, pain is reduced, and mobility is improved.

Get ready for hip replacement

Undergoing a hip replacement starts with an initial consultation to determine the best action. The patient may need a partial or total joint replacement based on imaging results. The surgeon will discuss the steps necessary for a successful surgery. Sometimes, the patient may need to perform exercises and PT several weeks before surgery. The surgeon may also recommend minimally invasive surgery (MIS), which results in faster healing and less post-operative pain. This forms part of a proactive joint replacement process that seeks to get the patient moving as soon as possible.

Time for surgery

During surgery, the patient is placed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes incisions along the front or side of the hip, shifting muscle and tissue to access the joint. Surgical tools remove the femoral head and acetabulum of the pelvis. The surgeon will shape the acetabulum and install the replacement cup. The stem is inserted into the femur and attached securely to the cup. The medical team will verify the surgery was successful with physical tests and x-rays. The patient will then begin the healing and rehabilitation process, which includes wound care, PT, and pain management.

Explore your options early

Hip pain can be subtle at first. Over time, the pain can become more intense, limiting even the most basic of movements. Early assessment and intervention slow hip pain caused by chronic issues like osteoarthritis. Should conservative treatment fail, a hip replacement can help. Early intervention in the form of a hill replacement allows younger patients to benefit from the new joint for longer. About 95% of patients experience relief lasting several years. The hip is vital for future movement and quality of life, so take action early.

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