The hip joint is the second largest weight bearing joint in the body, after the knee. It is a ball and socket joint. The ball of the thigh bone fits into the socket in the pelvis. It is a strong and stable joint but sudden injury or a lifetime of wear and tear can cause pain and disability.
When you have hip pain it is important to see your OANC orthopedic surgeon to identify your problem. Groin pain is a good indication of hip problems. Pain in the front of the hip that radiates down the front of the thigh to the knee is a probable hip problem. Back pain can present as hip pain. Pain in the back of the hip that radiates down the back of the leg it is sciatic and is likely due to a spine issue.
They will evaluate your hip joint conducting range of motion testing and asking about your symptoms and what causes them. It may be arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, muscle or tendon strain, a tear in the hip labrum, the ring of cartilage that surrounds the rim of the hip socket, or another cause. They will order x-rays and likely imaging studies to identify the cause of your pain.
If soft tissue is injured or strained or there is hip arthritis, they may recommend a trial of conservative treatment including over the counter pain relief, activity modification and physical therapy, and possibly steroid injections. If the condition appears to be more serious, they will recommend hip arthroscopy to evaluate the joint and possibly treat the hip problem.
What is hip arthroscopy?
Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat a variety of symptomatic hip disorders including but not limited to inflammatory arthritis, hip pain, congenital disorders, and to repair any injuries and impingements. The goal is to regain mobility and stability, followed by strength and endurance. It is usually outpatient surgery.
This surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Regional anesthesia is also used. Hip arthroscopy allows detailed visualization of all the parts of the hip joint. Only tiny incisions or portals are made to insert the arthroscope inside the joint. The arthroscope contains a tiny camera which projects pictures of the inside of the hip joint on a monitor so the surgeon can directly see inside the joint and evaluate the condition of the joint. A few portals are created to insert the tiny surgical instruments to treat the hip joint problem.
Advantages of hip arthroscopy:
- Quicker recovery process
- Minimized damage to surrounding tissue
- Reduced pain
- Reduced scarring
- Preventative treatment of hip arthritis
- Preventative treatment of hip replacements
Hip conditions treated arthroscopically:
- Loose bodies are pieces of damaged tissue that float in the hip spaces and cause catching and pain.
- Hip joint infection
- Synovitis is inflammation of the synovial fluid in the joint
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) – hip impingement occurs because of an abnormal contact between the rim of the socket and the head of the upper leg bone that causes pain with hip movement. Over time the joint cartilage is damaged, the bones rub together causing pain and disability, and eventually osteoarthritis.
- Labral tears of the labrum that lines the hip socket often due to hip dysplasia
- Snapping hip syndromes that evolve from degenerative changes in the tendons and bursa.
- Ligament tears and tendon disorders
Hip Arthroscopy requires a skillful surgeon
Hip arthroscopy is a challenging procedure because of all the vital structures that must be avoided. Success depends on strict diagnostic criteria and patient selection. It is safe and effective. Recovery can take up to 2 months, with rehabilitation and pain management. Complications are rare, but there is a slight risk of blood clots, nerve damage, and failure to relieve pain.
Contact OANC to schedule a consultation and discover your diagnosis and all your treatment options including arthroscopic hip surgery.