Hip Pain, Hip Arthritis & Hip Surgery. Mr Simon Buckley answers the FAQs...
Mr Simon Buckley, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and member of Sheffield Orthopaedics Ltd (SOL). Claremont Clinics: Thursday PM
What causes hip pain?
There are many causes for hip pain, the common ones include:
- Arthritis - Arthritis is a word that means inflammation of a joint. In the hip joint, by far the most common cause is Osteoarthritis, sometimes known as 'Wear and Tear'. This is a degenerative condition that gradually gets worse with time. Other types of arthritis include Rheumatoid Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. These cause hip pain as part of a wider range of joint diseases and often patients have had the symptoms for many years.
- Soft Tissue Injuries - In more recent years, surgeons have become increasingly aware of soft tissue injuries to parts of the hip joint that can lead to symptoms without seeing changes on simple x-rays. These problems are more common in younger and more active patients and symptoms are usually felt with activity, but go away with rest.
- Trochanteric Bursitis - An inflammatory condition affecting the muscles over the side of the hip. It appears often for no obvious reason and can be significant. Pain is usually felt on activity and on pressure over the side of the hip, which can mean difficulty lying on the affected side. Treatment is usually with painkillers, physiotherapy and sometimes steroid injections. It is a self-limiting condition that settles with time but can last for a number of years.
Information about these and rarer causes can be found here
What is hip arthritis?
Arthritis usually gives symptoms of pain on use but this can also develop into pain at rest and at night time disturbing sleep. There is usually a reduction in movement of the joint as well which leads to difficulty bending to reach your feet, dressing and activities such as getting into the bath or car.
Are there any simple treatments available for hip arthritis?
The first options for treatment of arthritis should always be conservative. Things to consider are:
- Painkillers. Start with simple things such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen and always check with your GP that these are suitable for you, particularly if you have any other medical conditions. If these do no control the pain, consult you GP about stronger options.
- Physiotherapy. Whilst physio will not cure your condition, there is good evidence that keeping the joint mobile and active will slow down the progression of the symptoms of stiffness.
- Weight Loss. If you are overweight, you put extra stress on your joints. Losing weight may reduce your symptoms and will also make you fitter should surgery be required in due course.
- Walking Aids. Using a walking stick in the hand OPPOSITE to the affected hip helps reduce pain by taking some load from the joint. The stick should be of the right size and you should have it checked by your physio.
When should I have a hip replacement?
Hip replacement is a very successful operation, but of course, all surgery carries risks. If your symptoms are not controlled by simple conservative measures, it may be time to consider surgery especially if your symptoms are intruding significantly on your lifestyle. There is never a medically correct time for the operation, it is based on your pain and your needs.
How long will my hip replacement last?
There is a widely held belief that joint replacements only last 10 years. This is not true - a good hip replacement should last many years. Success rates for the best designs show 95% working at 10 years and between 85-90% at 20 years, so there is every chance you joint will last many, many years.
What are the benefits?
Patient reported figures suggest that over 90% of individuals are delighted with their new joint and report complete pain relief and a good return of activity. Patients can return to a lot of their previous activities and sport such as golf, tennis, cycling and even skiing is not out of the question.
What are the risks of a hip replacement?
Complications (anaesthetic, medical and surgical) can occur will all major surgery. Of particular concern in total hip replacement are infection around the joint, blood clots in the veins and dislocation. Great care is of course taken to make the risk of infection as small as possible. Surgery is performed in modern, clean air operating theatres and antibiotics are given routinely during the operation to minimise this risk; the infection rate is under 1%. Later complications include wearing or loosening of the joint components and this is much more likely if patients are overweight.
A private consultation with Mr Buckley at Claremont is £200 if you don't have health insurance. To book an appointment, call our friendly Private Patient Team on 0114 263 2114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need a referral letter from your GP or you can see one of our Private GPs quickly for this if you prefer.
© Simon Buckley, 2016