Jay Deimel, MD: When to see a Hip Specialist
This article was originally published on goerie.com.
Hip problems are commonplace, especially among active teenagers and adults.
These problems can be both debilitating and extremely painful, as was witnessed on television recently with University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a season-ending injury.
When hip pain starts to inhibit your lifestyle, it’s time to see a hip preservation specialist.
Hip pain can be both sore and sharp. People who are physically active often experience a popping sensation in their hip as they move.
This popping is typically normal, unless associated with pain. Identifying the real source of pain is the first step toward treating it.
Finding the source, however, can be tricky because hip problems can mask as back pain and even knee pain. That’s why the office physical exam is so important to starting you on the correct treatment path.
For many patients, hip pain may first be treated with modifying activities, a home exercise program or a comprehensive physical therapy regimen by an experienced hip physical therapist.
If physical therapy isn’t sufficient, sometimes steroid or platelet rich plasma injections into the joint may then help in alleviating the pain.
If injections also fail to resolve the issue, then a specialized procedure called hip arthroscopy may be recommended. For the appropriate patient, hip arthroscopy is an excellent means of treating hip problems.
During this minimally invasive procedure, a small camera is inserted into the hip joint through very small incisions. The “scope” returns images to a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to identify the source of the pain and guide tiny surgical instruments to correct the complex problem.
Frequently, the hip scope procedure reveals soft tissue inflammation or damaged cartilage that can be repaired.
In most cases, there is extra bone growth causing damage to labrum and cartilage, a diagnosis called bony impingement. In those instances, the bone overgrowth can be removed in order to minimize future damage or wear to the hip.
Not everyone is a candidate for hip arthroscopy, however, it is very rewarding for the correct patient. The procedure is most commonly used to treat hip pain in patients between the ages of 15 and 55, depending on the amount of arthritis or joint wear.
Most patients are fully recovered and back to their activity of choice within four to six months.
Jay Deimel, M.D., is Director of Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation Surgery at AHN Saint Vincent Orthopaedic Institute.