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Basics of Hip Pain

Like other joints that carry your weight, your hips may be at risk for "wear and tear" arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disease. The smooth articular cartilage (cushion) that helps your hip joint glide may wear thin. Your first sign may be some discomfort and stiffness in your groin, buttock or thigh when you wake up in the morning. The pain flares when you're active and gets better when you rest. 

If you don't get treatment for arthritis of the hip, the condition keeps getting worse until resting no longer relieves your pain. The hip joint gets stiff and inflamed. Bone spurs might build up at the edges of the joint. When the cartilage wears away completely, bones rub directly against each other. This makes it very painful for you to move. If you become less active to avoid the pain, the muscles controlling your joint get weak, and you may start to limp. 

You're more likely to get arthritis if you have a family history

of the disease. You're also at risk if you are elderly, obese or

have an injury that puts stress on your hip cartilage. You

can still get arthritis even if you don't have any risk factors. 

Treatment options

While you cannot reverse the effects of arthritis, early nonsurgical treatment may help control your symptoms and decrease your pain and disability. Surgery can help you if your condition is severe, the nonsurgical treatment has failed, and your quality of life is severely compromised by your hip pain. 

Nonsurgical treatment

If you have early arthritis of the hip, possible treatments include: 

  • Rest your hip from overuse (avoid running, jumping or impacting repeatedly on your hip). 

  • Follow a physical therapy program of gentle, regular exercise like swimming, water aerobics, walking on even, non-inclined terrain, or cycling to keep your joint functioning and improve its strength and range of motion. 

  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin, diclofenac, Aleve, naproxen, ibuprofen, etc. for pain (if you have no medical contraindications).  Discuss with your PCP before starting. 

  • Corticosteroid injections in the hip can provide temporary relief and can also be used to help differentiate pain coming from the hip versus the back.

  • You may need to lose weight if you are overweight.

  • As the disease progresses, you may need to use a cane. 

Total hip replacement surgery

If you have advance stages of arthritis and your hip is severely limiting you on a daily basis, you may be a candidate for total hip replacement surgery (arthroplasty).  This operation is intended to cure your pain and improve your ability to walk. Additional information can be obtained here.  Please contact our office to schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss hip replacement surgery with Dr. Kahlenberg: 203-705-2376.

hip pain

Disclaimer: All materials presented on this website are the presented for information only and should not be construed as medical advice. Each patient’s specific condition is different, and a comprehensive medical assessment requires a full medical history, physical exam, and review of diagnostic imaging. If you would like to seek the opinion of Dr. Kahlenberg for your specific case, we recommend contacting our office to make an appointment.

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