To call your hips “important” joints is a fairly large understatement, which you’ve likely realized now that you’re hobbled by hip pain. If you’re thinking you might just grit your teeth and soldier through the pain, you may want to rethink this approach. Early intervention of many hip problems is not only prudent, it might save you from much larger problems down the road that ultimately require joint replacement.
As the hip specialist on Western Orthopaedics’ highly skilled team of physicians, Dr. Brian White understands the many advantages of a prompt diagnosis of your hip pain. In fact, Dr. White is a firm believer in hip preservation before hip replacement, but this is only possible if you come to him for intervention early on. Let’s take a look.
Causes of hip pain and why early intervention is important
There are many conditions that can lead to hip pain, but the more common culprits are conditions that rarely get better on their own and often only get worse.
These conditions include:
- Hip arthritis
- Hip dysplasia
- Labrum tears
- Femoroacetabular impingement
- Hip bursitis
To give you an idea of what can happen if you don’t seek early diagnosis and treatment of hip pain, let’s take a look at femoroacetabular impingement. With this condition, there’s extra growth in the bones in your hips, which doesn’t allow this ball-and-socket joint to fit together properly.
Over time, this poor fit can lead to damage in your labrum, the tissue that forms a seal around your hip’s socket. Now, you not only have femoroacetabular impingement, but a labrum tear, as well.
When it comes to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, this disease is progressive and only gets worse. As the cartilage breaks down in your hip joint, your bones can rub together and break apart, which creates loose bodies in your hip joint that can be quite painful.
Diagnosing and treating hip pain
When you come in, Dr. White first spends some time discussing your symptoms — when they occur, where they occur, etc. Based on this initial evaluation, he orders imaging. If Dr. White suspects a problem with the bones in your hip, he turns to X-ray, which provides a good look at the hard tissues inside your joint.
If Dr. White suspects you have problems with the soft tissues in your hip, he turns to an MRI or CAT scan which provide more detailed views of the structures inside your joint.
If the results from these advanced imaging techniques prove inconclusive, Dr. White may recommend hip arthroscopy. With this minimally invasive approach, he makes small incisions and inserts a high definition camera to get a “first-hand” look inside your joint.
Aside from being an excellent diagnostic tool, hip arthroscopy can help repair many problems in your hip joint. For example, Dr. White is an expert in the field of arthroscopic labral reconstruction.
If the damage in your hip joint is severe, Dr. White may recommend a hip replacement. While hip replacement is a last-resort procedure, it’s worth noting that 450,000 of these surgeries are performed annually in the United States with great success.
That said, one of the best ways to avoid a hip replacement is to come see us at the first signs of trouble in your hip. To get started, simply contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to set up an appointment.