Hip pain is a very common problem that affects lots of people. The impact of hip pain on routine activities can be hard since it is a major weight-bearing joint. Unfortunately, some people live with hip pain for many years before seeking treatment, but they don’t have to. Let’s consider when to see a doctor for hip pain.
There could be many reasons for hip pain. Sometimes it is due to osteoarthritis where the cartilage coating on the 2 sides of the joint wears away, muscle pain, nerve pain, inflamed ligaments or tendons around the hip, or sprains related to sporting activities. In younger patients, there can be impingement between the top of the thigh bone and the outside of the hip which can cause damage to the ring of cartilage that runs around the edge of the hip socket called the hip labrum.
Generally, it is far better to try and keep yourself as physically active as possible despite hip pain because in the long term this will improve the level of function and reduce your hip pain rather than reducing your activity. But you should try to avoid specific activities or hip movements that routinely make your hip joint painful.
When hip pain does not improve with a day or two of rest or over-the-counter medications and interferes with activities of daily living such as sitting, standing, or driving for a long time, work, or intimacy with your partner, then you should see your doctor or an orthopedic specialist.
In many patients, the hip pain may originate in the ball and socket joint of the hip itself. In other patients it may be coming from the pubic symphysis where the 2 halves of the pelvis come together, or the underside of the pelvis where the hamstring muscles originate, or from the bursa overlying the top of the thigh bone. Once the source of the hip pain is identified, the treatment plan can be targeted towards the correct site.
There are many options available to treat hip pain ranging from physical therapy and injections in the hip to minimally invasive surgery. Most patients that have received treatment for hip pain wish they had sought treatment sooner.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra has been practicing orthopedic surgery in the Washington DC Metropolitan area since 1984. The Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is easily accessed from anywhere in the Washington DC metropolitan area with offices located in Falls Church, Reston/Herndon and Tysons Corner. For all appointments and inquiries, please call 703 848-0800 or click here to request an appointment online.