Our knees get all the glory when it comes to replacement surgery. Almost three quarters of a million Americans are getting new knees every year and those numbers are continuing to swell along with the average age of the nation’s population.
But if you have chronic hip pain, in some ways it can be worse than knee pain. For instance, a good pull-over knee brace may allow you to avoid some of the pain associated with certain movements if your knee is degrading but you’re not quite ready for replacement surgery. But if your hip or hips are causing chronic pain, they will tell you about it when you’re walking and upright (just as your knee will). When you lay down, however, your knee probably quiets down. Not so with your hip. Sleeping can become a challenge, especially if you have damage in both hips.
Let’s get into some of the causes of your chronic hip pain in this summer blog.
What is causing my hip pain?
Dr. Moore sees patients all the time with chronic hip pain. Many of these patients are dealing with serious pain and are reluctant to consider hip replacement, as they’ve heard it is quite difficult. That’s not the case at all. In fact, recovery from hip replacement can be easier than from knee replacement. But that’s for another blog.
The most common cause of chronic hip pain is arthritis. There are three types of arthritis that impact the hips:
- Osteoarthritis. Life is tough on the hips. If you’ve played sports such as indoor volleyball or tennis; if you’ve been a gymnast or dancer; if you’ve been a runner — all of these activities create a good deal of wear and tear on the hip socket. This all comes due in osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” form of arthritis, usually after you turn 50. The cartilage on the end of your femur (thighbone) and the cartilage in the hip socket (acetabulum) become torn or worn down to the degree that bone rubs against bone.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. The most debilitating type of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis causes the body to attack its own joints. The chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Post-traumatic arthritis. If you’ve seriously injured your hip, the cartilage may become damaged in later years. Post-traumatic arthritis may be triggered by osteonecrosis. When a hip is dislocated (as was Bo Jackson’s during his Raiders’ football days) or fractured, the blood supply to the ball portion of the femur can become restricted. This can lead to the surface of the bone collapsing. Arthritis is sure to follow.
- Childhood hip disease. Some children have hip problems where the hips may not grow and develop properly. Even if successfully addressed in youth, this condition will often result in arthritis later in life.
If you have the chronic hip pain described above, there’s no reason to lose sleep and quality of life because of it. Dr. Moore is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon whose extensive training, experience, and expertise can help you get past the pain with total hip replacement. Call us at (910) 295-0224 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Moore.