Ask anyone who has sustained a hip injury – they can be quite painful and can have a significant impact on your quality of life.
While it is true that seniors are more prone to hip pain as a result of falls, weak muscles, and degenerative conditions, hip injuries are also quite common among people of all ages – especially children and young adults who participate in sports or recreational activities. Hip and lower back pain are also prevalent among those who are overweight or obese due to excessive pressure on the hip joints.
There are many types of hip injuries, ranging from bursitis and avascular necrosis (the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply) to fractures and gluteus medius tears. The good news is that these and other types of injuries are treatable with the expertise of an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip conditions.
Let’s take a look at two of the most common hip injuries and their treatments.
1. Labral Tear
The labrum is a rim of cartilage found in the hip joint. It reinforces the ball-and-socket hip joint, holding the two bones together and protecting them from grinding against one another. The labrum allows the bones to move smoothly in close proximity without any issues.
A labral tear occurs when the labrum is torn and weakened. As a result, the ball and socket of the hip may not move smoothly. Not only that, but in some cases, a labral tear may result in a pinched piece of tissue that gets lodged within the joint.
Symptoms of a labral tear may include:
- A sharp pain in the groin, thigh, or upper leg area
- Stiffness or a popping sensation that results in decreased movement
- Increased pain in the hip or groin after extended periods of standing, walking or sitting
A significant acute injury or smaller repetitive injuries over time can cause a labral tear. That’s why it is a common injury among those who participate in contact sports that require running, sudden twisting, and pivoting motions. However, it can occur in anyone who is physically active.
Treatment for a labral tear depends on the severity of your symptoms. While conservative measures – such as rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or naproxen sodium), physical therapy, and modified activities – help some people recover, others may require arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn portion of the labrum.
2. Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
This type of hip injury derives its name from the femur – or thigh bone – and the acetabulum, the bowl-shaped part of your pelvis that supports the head of the femur to form the hip joint.
What happens is, extra bone spurs form along the edges of the bones, thereby creating contact points around the joint where the bones and cartilage can rub together. In turn, this can cause cartilage tears and stiffness, and pain in the groin and in front of the thigh, and makes normal movement both difficult and uncomfortable.
FAI can either be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop later in life). In any case, it can limit the hip range of motion, and cause increased pain after prolonged sitting, running, or jumping. If left untreated, FAI can lead to osteoarthritis in the hip.
As long as cartilage in the hip is intact, treatment for FAI often consists of debridement or osteoplasty, a surgery that reshapes the top of the femur or the socket, so they fit together more smoothly. If the cartilage is damaged in specific areas, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery may still be an option to reduce pain and improve the range of motion.
Experienced Orthopedic Surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina
If you sustain any type of painful hip injury, you owe it to yourself to visit Dr. Brett J. Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert is a highly-skilled, board-certified, and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating hip and knee injuries and conditions and can help alleviate your pain and restore your mobility, so you can enjoy an active lifestyle once again.
Let Dr. Gilbert assess your condition and provide you with the details you need to make an informed decision about effective treatment for your orthopedic ailment. Call our office today at (919) 788-8797 to schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online.