Advice from Dr. Thomas Myers on Hip Pain
Hip pain is most classically a deep seated groin pain that radiates into the front of the thigh but can cause deep pain buttock or pain down the back side of the thigh. If the pain is associated with an injury or a fall this may have caused a tear in the muscle or other tissue around the hip or a fracture in the bone. If the pain is from arthritis the pain can start at any time but is usually associated with an increase in activity.
Arthritis in the middle to older aged adult (those 45 years old and older) is usually caused by wear and tear of the cartilage that caps the top of the thigh bone and the socket in the pelvic bone. The pain may become severe over the course of a few weeks but more commonly will get worse subtly over time and cause you to modify your activities slowly but progressively. Friends and family may notice a change in activity and function before the person with arthritis does.
A good first step is to get an accurate diagnosis by your orthopaedic surgeon. The diagnosis isn’t that difficult and can usually be made with a good set of x-rays and a history and physical exam of the patient. Most commonly pain referred from low back issues or a muscular strain around the hip can mimic hip pain cause by arthritis.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Don’t ignore hip pain.
See your doctor so you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Although the majority of hip pain is from arthritis there are other conditions that can cause hip pain with a different set of treatments. Understanding what is causing your hip pain could avoid a more involved treatment process down the road.
Leading a healthy active lifestyle in general is the key to healthy joints. Working to improve your flexibility can also help you maintain joint mobility.
See an expert.
If you are considering having a hip replacement for any reason, be sure to go to a center with a high volume, low complication rate, and low readmission. Look for a surgeon who specializes in hip and knee surgeries, and does at least 200 a year.