By Andy Stader, Orthopedic Physician Assistant
Hip pain affects most of us at some point throughout our lifetime, whether it’s from playing a casual pickup game, gardening, cutting wood, or carrying in groceries. Most often, when we pull a muscle or irritate our soft tissue, it gets better with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and time. But if the pain doesn’t go away, you might need further treatment in order to feel better.
When describing hip pain, people often point to the lateral thigh (outside part of the thigh) and backside and rarely point to the groin area. Outside thigh or hip pain has a wide range of causes, the most common being hip bursitis, IT band syndrome, or muscle strain. Posterior thigh (back of the thigh) or buttocks pain has many causes as well, including lower back pain, SI joint pain, and muscle strain. Patients often feel better once they try conservative treatments including rest, ice, over-the-counter medications and working with a physical therapist.
Most of the time when you have ‘hip joint’ pain, it actually causes pain in the front of your groin. There can also be referred pain in the outside thigh or buttocks. Referred pain is when you can feel the pain in one body part, but it’s from pain or injury in a different part of your body.
Some orthopedic conditions that may cause this groin pain include a muscle strain, labral tear (flap of loose tissue), avascular necrosis (low blood flow to hip joint), and arthritis. Arthritic hip pain often worsens with weight bearing movements like standing and going up and down stairs, and it can make it difficult to get comfortable due to severe groin pain. You may often walk with a limp and have limited range of motion with your affected leg. When someone has an arthritic hip joint, we often try to treat it pretty traditionally using medications (anti-inflammatories and acetaminophen), adjusting activities they participate in, exercise/physical therapy, hot or cold therapies, using a cane or walker, and/or steroid injections. When we give steroid injections into the hip joint, we use an ultrasound machine to help with anatomical landmarks and to safely perform the procedure. The ultrasound machine helps us get the medication into the correct spot for the most relief.
If the treatments I just mentioned don’t help, then you may benefit from hip replacement surgery. There are multiple approaches to perform a hip replacement. Our Orthopedic Surgeons have been performing anterior hip replacements for over two years. We currently use a new, cutting-edge computer software program that assists surgical planning and implant positioning, as well as getting leg lengths to be the same after surgery. We use a special table that helps with positioning our patient and getting easier access to the hip joint. Because of the methods we use, you recover quicker, have less pain, and have a decreased risk of dislocations following anterior hip replacement surgery.
If you are having hip pain that is affecting your day to day activities, schedule an appointment at the Orthopedic Institute so we can help you get back on your feet and doing the things you love to do. You can reach us at 608.342.4748.