Ask an Expert: Hip Pain Treatment FAQ

Answers provided by Mark Wagner, M.D., orthopedic surgeon

If you have ever experienced – or are currently experiencing – hip pain, you are not alone. One out of every ten people over the age of 60 is likely to require hip replacement surgery. And hip pain is not just a problem for older generations – cartilage tears and hip impingements are becoming increasingly prevalent among young people as well.

Q: How can I get relief from hip pain without surgery?
There are some non-operative treatments that can help you manage your hip pain. Some of the most common remedies include physical therapy, steroid injections and modification of daily activities.

Q: If surgery is needed, what are my options?
You have several choices when it comes to hip surgery. For arthritis, a total hip replacement is often recommended. This procedure restores quality of life for many patients because it allows them to walk more normally and continue their everyday lives without pain.

The second option is a hip arthroscopy. In this case, the surgeon sends a small fiber optic camera inside the hip to repair cartilage and damage. Arthroscopic surgery is much less invasive than a total hip replacement, so it allows patients to jump-start their physical therapy and recover much faster.

A third alternative is called hip resurfacing. This is a different type of hip replacement which involves using a metal cap on the end of the hip. It is still relatively new and is typically only recommended for specific types of patients.

Q: What should I expect recovery time to be like after surgery?
Recovery varies depending on the individual and type of surgery, but is usually relatively quick. Patients should expect to stay in the hospital for up to two days, but they are encouraged to be up walking on the joint just a few hours after surgery. Patients are usually able to resume their normal routines free of pain after just 2-6 weeks.

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Dr. Wagner practices in Portland, OR and is affiliated with Providence Orthopedic Institute. He strives to restore patients’ quality of life, and allow them to get back to the activities that they really want to do. Sometimes that means going out and walking their dog around the block, other times it’s climbing a mountain, hiking or riding their bike. The important thing is that we’re getting them back to the activities they love.