Dealing With Hip Pain
Should I Have Surgery?
UW Health Orthopedics in Madison, Wisconsin, provides comprehensive care for patients with hip pain, ranging from nagging pain that may benefit from non-surgical rehabilitation to chronic, debilitating pain caused by arthritis that can be treated with total hip replacement surgery.
About Hip Arthritis
The probability of hip arthritis increases with age and is common in adults older than 60. Hip arthritis can cause a great deal of pain when walking. While there are many treatments available to help manage the pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis, the best management techniques usually include a combination of non-pharmacological (non-medication) and pharmacological methods.
Non-Medication-Based Treatment Methods
- Exercise: When patients experience pain or discomfort, it might be surprising that exercise is one of the best recommendations for hip osteoarthritis. Strengthening and aerobic exercise are actually associated with pain relief and improved hip function.
- Weight loss: For patients who are overweight, losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight can help manage and even improve symptoms.
- Walking aids: Walking aids, such as canes or crutches, have been shown to be helpful for patients. However, it is important that individuals receive proper instruction on how to use them.
- Ice and heat: While effective only for the short term, heat and ice therapy can help provide some relief from symptoms.
- Physical therapy: UW Health physical and occupational therapists can work with patients suffering from hip pain that does not require surgery to restore function and ease pain. Learn more
When non-medication-based treatments aren’t enough, physicians may prescribe some pain relievers, including acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, topical medications, cortisone shots and hyaluronic acid injections. Glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulphate, which are commonly advertised as promoting joint health, may be used, but if no benefit is seen after six months, it's usually best to discontinue use.
Do I Need Hip Replacement Surgery?
Partial or total hip replacement surgery can help people who have struggled with chronic, debilitating hip pain. How can you decide if hip replacement surgery is for you?
- Get the facts and know which questions to ask with our hip replacement surgery primer.
- Ask yourself a few questions, including:
- Do you have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 40? That's a necessity for this surgery.
- Do you have any medical conditions, such as diabetes? They must be stable to be considered for surgery.
- Have you had an x-ray in the past six months that shows arthritis?
- Does your hip pain prevent you from sleeping?
- Are you able to participate in activities you enjoy?
- Can you walk or climb stairs without pain?
- If you decide to have surgery, learn more about hip replacement surgical procedures.