Hip Care & Treatment

The hip joint is known as a ball and socket joint, allowing backward, forward, sideways and rotating movements. This joint is formed by the top of the femur (thighbone) and the socket of the pelvic bone.

At the top of the femur is a ball which fits snugly into the socket. A normal, healthy joint will move freely without pain. In addition to the bones, the hip joint consists of the following:

  • Cartilage – At the joint, the bones are covered with cartilage (a connective tissue), made up of cell and fibers and is wear-resistant. Cartilage helps reduce the friction of movement.
  • Synovial membrane – A tissue lining the joint which acts and seals it into the joint capsule. The synovial membrane secretes synovial fluid (a clear, sticky fluid) around the joint to lubricate it.
  • Ligaments – Tough, elastic bands of connective tissue which surround the joint to give support and limit the joint’s movement.
  • Tendons – Another type of tough connective tissue on each side of the joint attached to muscles that control movement of the joint.

Common Hip Conditions

Two possible causes of hip pain are fractures and insufficient blood flow to the hip (aseptic necrosis).

Hip Fractures

A hip fracture can change the quality of your life significantly. Fewer than 50 percent of those with a hip fracture return to their former level of activity.

In addition, while recovering from a hip fracture, several possible complications can be life-threatening. These include pneumonia and a blood clot in the leg, which can dislodge and travel to cause a clot in the lungs. Both are due to immobility following a hip fracture and hip surgery.

Hip fractures become more common as people age because falls are more likely and bones become less dense. People with osteoporosis can get a fracture from simple, everyday activities, not just a dramatic fall or injury.

Aseptic Necrosis

Aseptic necrosis can happen if you have been on steroids for a long time or you have sickle cell anemia. Injury and regular use of alcohol also increase your risk.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a type of aseptic necrosis that happens in children.

Other Common Conditions

Other possible causes of hip pain include:

  • Arthritis – often felt in the front part of your thigh or in your groin
  • Trochanteric bursitis – hurts when you get up from a chair, walk, climb stairs, and drive
  • Tendinitis from repetitive or strenuous activity
  • Strain or sprain
  • Low-back pain such as sciatica
  • Infection

Hip Procedures & Treatment

our health care provider will perform a physical examination, with careful attention to your hips, thighs, back, and gait.

To help diagnose the cause of the problem, your doctor will ask medical history questions. X-rays of the hip may be necessary.

Your doctor may tell you to take a higher dose of over-the-counter medication or give you a prescription anti-inflammatory medication.

Hip Surgery

Surgical repair or hip replacement may be recommended for aseptic necrosis. Hip replacement is necessary for hip fracture and severe arthritis. With current technology, an artificial hip should last at least 10 to 15 years. Expect recovery from surgery to take at least 6 weeks.