About Hip Pain
One in three adults experiences hip pain that affects their daily lives. From injured athletes to active adults to older adults with osteoarthritis, at Memorial Hermann Joint Center we treat over thousands of people a year for hip pain. For many, relief may be a matter of rest and home care, followed by gradual resumption of activity. For others, minimally invasive surgery or partial or total hip replacement offer relief, and often—so our patients tell us—a whole new lease on life!
Accepting hip pain as “normal” or avoiding surgery out of fear can lead to overall decline in health, and are barriers to a more active, enjoyable life than many people thought possible. Memorial Herman orthopedic surgeon Kenneth Mathis, who works at the front lines of hip treatment, sees the recent advancements in this field as transformational. “It is remarkable that during my lifetime we can now relieve joint pain,” he says, “and joint replacement is one of the most effective procedures in medicine today.”
Why Does My Hip Hurt
The hip is a ball and socket joint consisting of the head of the femur (ball) and the acetabulum (socket). Next to the shoulder, it has one of the broadest ranges of motion of any joint in our body. Both the femur and acetabulum are cushioned by cartilage that enables smooth movement and protects from bone-on-bone contact. A cartilage ring (labrum) at the rim of the acetabulum helps deepen the socket and provide a better fit for the femur, aiding in pressure and stability in the joint. Strong ligaments hold the bones together and tendons connect the muscles around the joint, providing additional support. Surrounding the hip joint is joint fluid excreted by the joint lining called synovium. Synovium helps provide joint lubrication.
If you are experiencing hip pain, most likely one of these systems is not performing well due to injury, infection, or a chronic disease process.
Acute Hip Pain: Injury to the joint or surrounding tissues can lead to a sudden onset of hip pain. Mostly commonly, the pain stems from inflamed tendons that heal in a few days with rest. If the pain continues or is accompanied by redness, swelling and warmth, the joint may be infected.
Severe Hip Pain: If your hip pain comes on quickly and is severe and disabling, you may have fractured a bone in the joint, requiring immediate medical evaluation. A less common cause is the onset of rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disorder.
Chronic Hip Pain: Chronic hip pain generally comes on gradually, becoming noticeable one day as a twinge or ache and then progressing to frequent or daily pain when walking, standing, sitting or turning. The most common cause of chronic hip pain is osteoarthritis, the wearing away or tearing of the cartilage on the upper end of the femur and in the bowl-shaped acetabulum.
Degenerative Hip Pain: Degenerative hip pain is related to long-term breakdown of the joint surfaces. This type of hip pain is caused by the smooth cartilage in the joint degenerating over time, leading to increased friction during movement.
Find Hip Pain Relief
Memorial Hermann Joint Centers can help patients with hip pain find relief. For more information on available treatment options, schedule an appointment online or call 713-272-1888.
To see if you may qualify for hip replacement surgery, take our 2-minute quiz here.