How can your hip pain be treated?
If you’ve been suffering with hip pain for some time, you may be wondering how a specialist could help. Mr Tony Andrade, an expert hip surgeon at Circle Reading Hospital, explains what you need to know.
Hip pain can affect people of all ages. It can even affect young children, but patients up to the age of 60 are typically impacted more by pain related to certain activities. It often interferes with their enjoyment of sports or hobbies and can even affect their work.
Hip pain can also affect people beyond the age of 60, and in that age group, it typically relates to arthritis in their hip.
Patients are often surprised when they hear that groin pain is a classic symptom of a hip problem. The type of pain, and its intensity, can vary significantly. Many report an ache, much like a toothache, which is a nagging and persistent pain that’s there most of the time. Yet others sometimes get sharp stabbing pains with particular activities, especially when there’s some twisting of the hip.
In everyday life, it’s activities like sitting down for prolonged periods that could trigger the groin pain, or getting up suddenly from a chair that could lead to quite severe pain for some. Many also say they increasingly have difficulties getting in and out of the car, have pain after playing a sport or when they go to the gym. They may actually be able to go for a workout without pain, but then notice increasing levels of pain in the hip for several days afterwards.
Your hip is a ball and socket joint, so any problems with how the hip is shaped or how the hip is working could lead to pain. As a hip surgeon, the first way I can help is to navigate through all possible scenarios with you and reach an accurate diagnosis for what’s causing your pain.
We’ll start by talking through the history of your symptoms so we can fully understand their context. This is used alongside an examination which looks at how your hip moves and how the muscles around the hip are being affected. We can then move on to other tests and scans, which could include X-rays, MRI and CT scans.
The X-rays give us the overall structure of the joint, whereas the MRI tells us what the soft tissues around the joint are like. It can also pick up any tears of the cartilage, or even a stress fracture caused by frequent high-impact activities like running. A CT scan can also show us whether a potential twist in the bones could be causing the symptoms and is a very good way to better assess the relationship between the ball and socket of the hip.
Once we’ve collected all the evidence, we can reach a diagnosis and then suggest a treatment plan for you detailing the next steps for managing your pain.
Typically patients will have already tried physiotherapy, but we will look at a range of non-surgical (conservative) treatments where possible as a first step. If your hip pain is proving to be persistent, as a hip surgeon, I can then offer a wide range of appropriate interventional or surgical treatment options.
Depending on the diagnosis, it may be appropriate to use a targeted injection (under ultrasound or X-Ray guidance) into the affected muscle, tendon or joint. These have been helpful to many of my patients. If a range of conservative measures fail to improve the issue, I may then talk through relevant surgical options with you. We will discuss what’s involved with the procedure and your expected recovery time so you can then make an informed decision about what’s right for you.
If you’ve had hip or groin pain for longer than three months, and you’re not getting relief from it, this is typically when you should seek specialist help. We will look at immediate things we can do to manage your pain, and then follow the process detailed above to identify and address the root cause of your symptoms.