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When to See a Specialist About Hip Pain

When to See a Specialist About Hip Pain

There’s nothing quite like hip pain to interfere with your ability to get around in the world, never mind enjoy more active pursuits. While the old, “Grin and bear it,” saw may earn you some credit among those who prefer to soldier through pain, treating hip pain is often the far better route toward maintaining pain-free mobility.

Our team of orthopedic experts here at Western Orthopaedics includes a provider who specializes in hipsDr. Brian White. Through experience, expert diagnosis, and a wide range of treatment options (no, hip replacement isn’t always the answer!), we can help relieve your hip pain and improve your mobility.

The most common causes of hip pain

Your hips are large ball-and-socket joints where the sockets (acetabula) are located in your pelvic bones, and the ball portions of the joint are formed by the heads of your femurs. Your hip joints also contain many soft tissues that aid in stability and easy function.

Since there are several components in your hips, pain can develop when there’s a problem in any one of these tissues. 

To give you an idea, here’s a look at some of the more common culprits behind hip pain: arthritis, bursitis, and labral tears.


To help the bones in your hips work together smoothly, your hips contain articular cartilage, a slippery substance that covers the ends of your bones and enables easy movement. When you develop osteoarthritis, this cartilage breaks down, leaving your bones unprotected.

Hip bursitis

Many of the joints in your body contain bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning and prevent friction. Each of your hips contains two major bursae — the greater trochanter bursa and the iliopsoas bursa. If one of these bursa becomes inflamed, it can lead to considerable hip pain.

Hip labral tear

The socket of your hip joint is lined with a soft tissue called the labrum, which allows the head of your femur to move around within your acetabulum. If this tissue tears, it can lead to hip pain, stiffness, and/or instability within the joint.

There are other causes of hip pain, such as hip dislocations or fractures, but the conditions we list above are some of the more common we see at our practice.

Treating hip pain

The first step toward relief from your hip pain is to come in for an extensive evaluation. First, we review the severity, type, and location of your symptoms. From there, we use advanced imaging to locate and identify the source of your hip pain.

Once we determine the cause of your hip pain, we suggest an appropriate treatment plan. Bear in mind that we prefer to start conservatively before we dive into surgical solutions or hip replacement. For example, joint injections, rest, and physical therapy are often very effective in relieving hip pain.

If, however, we find that the tissue damage is too great, we may recommend hip-preserving surgery next. Dr. White has considerable experience with these types of surgeries, including labral reconstruction, in which he can arthroscopically repair the damaged tissues within your hip joint.

If your hip pain stems from major damage in your soft tissues that we can’t easily repair, then it may be time to consider hip replacement. Each year in the United States, more than 450,000 hip replacements are performed, mostly with great success.

The bottom line is that any musculoskeletal pain is something you shouldn’t simply grin and bear. In seeking the help of a specialist for your hip pain, you can take to your feet with confidence again, and without discomfort.

For relief from your hip pain, contact one of our two offices in Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to set up an appointment.

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