Are you guilty of ignoring your recurring hip pain? It can be tempting to do—to do your best to ignore the pain and hope that it goes away, rather than acknowledging that the matter might be more serious. In many instances it might simply be a localised injury that will in fact go away as the area heals itself. But ongoing hip pain, or hip pain that recurs with an alarming regularity needs to be investigated. While it might be the case that your doctor will refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon, this surgeon might not necessarily recommend hip replacement surgery. It might be possible to delay or even avoid this type of surgery if you make a point of having your condition assessed as early as possible. So what do you need to look out for? And what are some solutions for your hip pain?
Common Signs of Hip Problems
There are numerous signs that you need to look out for.
- A pain in your hip that persists. It might be more pronounced during simple physical activities such as climbing stairs.
- An injury (blunt trauma) to the area that doesn't seem to be healing.
- A noticeable decrease in the flexibility of your hips.
- Noticeable swelling or tenderness around your hips. There might not be much pain, and yet the swelling might be persistent.
- A stiffening of the hip after sitting upright for an extended period of time.
If you notice the recurrence of any of these signs, you need to see your doctor.
Your doctor will likely order an x-ray so they are better able to diagnose the cause of your hip pain. Pain in your hips does not always result in hip replacement surgery, although your doctor might refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for more specialised treatment. The orthopaedic surgeon might prescribe a walking aid so that you are able to remain mobile. This might be a walking frame or cane, and can be used in combination with pain relief. This could be over the counter medication, or your orthopaedic surgeon might prescribe corticosteroid-based medications to reduce inflammation of the joint. The orthopaedic surgeon might also formulate an exercise regime for you, designed to strengthen the muscles that actually support your hip joints. There are also surgical options that are not in fact hip replacement surgery. You might be a candidate for osteotomy, wherein the hip joint is surgically realigned. Generally only when all of these alternative methods have been exhausted (or the problem was not diagnosed in time) will hip replacement surgery be an option.
The key point is that you have your hip pain assessed as early as possible. An early diagnosis and treatment plan can delay the need for hip replacement surgery, or even allow you to avoid it altogether.