Help for Hip Pain
by Rick Alan
Hip pain results from damage to the hip joint—a ball and socket joint that connects the ball-shaped top of the leg bone (femur) to the hip socket. Damage to the hip joint results from a number of causes, including:
Conservative Treatment TOP
Nonsurgical therapies are often the first choice of treatment but it really depends on the cause of your pain. Your physician will ask about your symptoms and then x-ray the hip joint to assess the extent of the damage. Nonsurgical therapies include:
In certain situations, other surgical treatment options may be considered:
Hip Replacement Surgery TOP
When your hip problems can no longer be controlled by conservative methods, you may become a candidate for hip replacement surgery.. If you are deemed a suitable candidate and decide to have hip replacement surgery, the procedure will consist of the following:
Getting Back on Your Feet TOP
For the first week or two following surgery, activity is very limited. After this initial period, crutches are needed for up to six weeks, and physical therapy and exercise begin (lasting for 3-6 months). Depending on your age, overall condition prior to surgery, and steadfastness in following the prescribed rehabilitation regimen, recovery from hip replacement surgery will take anywhere from 2-6 months.
Possible postoperative complications from hip replacement surgery include:
These postoperative complications can often be treated with medication or other nonsurgical techniques. Sometimes, however, follow-up surgery may be necessary. If the artificial joint is damaged, a second hip replacement may be required. And, even with the current advancements in artificial hip technology, the artificial hip liner or the artificial hip itself will wear out and require replacement within two decades.
Here are some things you can do to prevent complications and improve the longevity of an artificial hip:
National Institutes of Health
Canadian Arthritis Network
Ganz, R, Gill, TJ, Gautier, E, et al. Surgical dislocation of the adult hip a technique with full access to the femoral head and acetabulum without the risk of avascular necrosis. J Bone Joint Surg Br . 2001; 83:1119.
Kellicker PG. Hip Replacement. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at:
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Updated November 13, 2009. Accessed March 16, 2010.
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Simank, HG, Brocai, DR, Brill, C, Lukoschek, M. Comparison of results of core decompression and intertrochanteric osteotomy for nontraumatic osteonecrosis of the femoral head using Cox regression and survivorship analysis. J Arthroplasty . 2001; 16:790.
Last reviewed Review in Progress by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 3/16/2010