Our hip joints take a beating. Over the course of our lives, they withstand all sorts of impacts, from walking downstairs to jumping to rebound a basketball. Compared to the complexity in the shoulder joint, the hips are relatively simple structures. But with the loads our hips continually bear, they can become damaged and painful.
The orthopedic specialists at Bone & Joint Specialists treat all types of hip pain and damage.
Hip Problems Treated by Our Orthopedic Specialists Include:
Hip Replacement Patient Testimonial
“Dr. Andrews did double hip replacements on my husband in 2012. He is very knowledgeable and both times we went in for surgery it was a great experience. I would recommend him”
What is a Hip Injury?
Our hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that fits together in a manner that allows fluid movement. When the hips are engaged, such as when running for a Frisbee, the inner hips have a cushion of cartilage that helps prevent friction as the femur moves in the socket. Our hips are incredibly durable, but they’re not indestructible. Over time, the cartilage in our hips wears down and can become torn.
The muscles and tendons in the hip can become overused. Osteoporosis can break down the bone quality, leading to a hip fracture during a fall. There are lots of ways your hips can signal you that something is wrong by sending pain signals to your brain.
What Are the Symptoms of a Hip Injury?
Hip pain varies depending on the origin or the damage. In most cases, the pain will become exacerbated by activity. This is especially true if your pain is linked to arthritis. Pain can be of the constant aching variety, or it could be acute, such as if you have tears in the cartilage of the socket and certain sleeping positions move or bother the cartilage pieces. These are where you could feel pain due to your hips:
- Inside of the hip joint
- Outside of the hip joint
Persistent hip pain will lead most people to develop a limping gait to avoid some movement in the joint.
What Causes Hip Pain?
The most common causes of hip pain are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other commons causes are hip fractures, bursitis (inflammation of the bursae that cushion the joint), tendinitis, muscle or tendon strains, hip labrum tear (a rip in the ring of cartilage that follows the outside rim of the hip joint socket), cancer, and avascular necrosis caused by fracture or dislocation.
What Are Common Hip Injuries That Require Surgery?
Hip surgery is uncommon for reasons other than hip replacement or when a hip has been fractured. Hip replacement surgery is very successful and involves a far easier recovery than you may assume. It is done when the patient has extensive, irreversible hip joint damage that is causing chronic pain that is interfering with everyday life. At Bone & Joint Specialists, we may perform hip replacement surgery to treat these conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hip fractures
- Bone tumors
At What Age Do Most Hip Injuries Occur?
Most hip injuries occur with older people. This is because their hips have had decades of use and impact. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of various hip injuries. This is otherwise known as “wear and tear arthritis.” Older patients, particularly females, are also prone to having osteoporosis, the deterioration of their bones. In the hips, this leads to fractures during falls.
What Can I Do to Prevent Hip Injury?
As with any injury, you can’t always do anything about it in cases of traumatic accidents. For instance, Bo Jackson was a famous professional athlete in both football and baseball, but one seemingly harmless tackle in a game caused avascular necrosis and bone death in his hip. He needed hip replacement and his dual careers were over. There are things you can do to help your hips, however:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra weight simply speeds degradation of the hip joint, and it increases pain in arthritic joints. Every 10 pounds of extra weight you’re carrying around results in increased loads of 75 to 100 pounds on your joints. Simple physics says the cartilage in your hip joints will break down sooner with these extra forces.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, and it will strengthen the muscles around your hips and back, your core. When your core is strong it helps to keep your hips in alignment, and the loads are shared. Vary your exercises to strengthen wider areas.
Adjust What You Do
If you have persistent hip pain, you’re simply making it worse by pushing through the pain. The pain is telling you something. If running is starting to cause hip pain, switch to swimming or bicycling.