Do you remember when bending over to put on your socks wasn't an ordeal? When rising from your spot on the couch didn't require careful thought and consideration? When getting into or out of your car didn't feel like an advanced circus routine? If your answer to these questions is "no," it may be time to talk to your health care provider about options for resolving your hip pain.
Unless the pain is caused by injury, chances are that the underlying cause of your hip pain is arthritis. The most common arthritis is osteoarthritis, in which the cartilage around a joint breaks down, causing pain from friction and limiting range of motion. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are other forms of arthritis that limit mobility and cause pain due to inflammation, and can also ultimately cause permanent damage to joints.
Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint, which means that the end of your femur (thigh bone) has a round protrusion at the end (the ball) which fits neatly into an indentation (the socket) in your pelvis (hip bone). This ball-and-socket joint is surrounded by cartilage, tendons, and muscle which hold the joint stable and provide for smooth motion. When the cartilage and tendons around the joint become inflamed, injured, or wear thin, the bones of the ball and socket can grind against each other, causing pain and limiting mobility.
Generally, the first course of action will be to evaluate what is causing your pain and to try non-surgical interventions such as rest, medication, injections, and/or physical therapy. If these interventions do not work to reduce or eliminate your hip pain, it may be time to consider surgery. Luckily, partial and total hip replacement procedures have come a long way since hip replacement surgery was first pioneered in the 1940s!
In order to provide the best care, your surgeon will want to understand in detail what is causing your pain. One fantastic innovation in hip surgery is called hip arthroscopy; this procedure allows your surgeon to insert a tiny camera through a small incision to view the hip joint. This camera provides detailed information for your surgeon as they evaluate your joint and work to repair any damage.
Another relatively recent innovation in hip surgery is known as anterior approach hip replacement, which simply means that the surgery is performed from the front of the hip, as opposed to the side or back. Dr. Gallagher is trained in and performing the anterior approach to hips.
While it can be intimidating to consider surgery, the benefits of hip replacement are immense. Being able to return to doing what you love and resuming your daily routines without pain are achievable goals. If you would like to learn more about addressing your hip pain, your doctor can refer you to a practice like Brattleboro Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, where you can finally start to address your pain.
Eric Gallagher, MD recently joined BMH Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine as an orthopaedic surgeon and offers new services like total hip replacements using the anterior approach, as well as hip arthroscopies. For questions or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gallagher, call 802-251-8611.