Hip pain can strike anytime in a person’s life and can come from a range of causes. When pain hits it is important to evaluate all of the possible treatment options, especially for those who are younger and active.
Dr. Hicken’s goal is to help his patients preserve and extend the life of a natural joint. He works with each patient to find the best option that will leave him or her with the least amount of downtime and the most motion.
Common Causes of Early Hip Problems
During the teen years, it’s easy to dismiss discomfort as “growing pains” in the hips. The fact is, when hip pain develops in a teenager or a young adult, often an underlying hip deformity is to blame. Commonly, a young adult can suffer from hip joint abnormalities such as dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). These conditions, if left untreated, can cause future pain and osteoarthritis, often in one’s 30’s or 40’s. This can lead to the need for surgical replacement or reconstruction of the joint at a young age. If diagnosed early on, Dr. Hicken can do many things to extend the life of the joint and delay the need for a hip replacement.
When to See Dr. Hicken
Hip pain might be the most obvious sign of a hip problem, but it’s not the only one. And since hip deformities don’t always cause a lot of pain, it’s important to look for other symptoms.
- Tenderness: If the hip feels tender when touched or pressed, it could be bursitis. Bursitis occurs when tiny sacs inside the joint become inflamed. Sometimes, bursitis occurs alongside a deformity, but strenuous activity can also cause bursitis.
- “Snapping” sensations: “Snapping hip” most commonly occurs when a tendon gets “caught” on a bony prominence in the hip joint. As you move your hip, the tendon releases and “snaps.” Sometimes, you can hear a “pop” when the tendon snaps free. Snapping hip often occurs on its own, but in some cases, it’s associated with a more serious underlying problem.
- Buttock pain: Sometimes, a strain or muscle tear in the buttock area can cause hip pain, as well as pain along the side of the thigh.
- Shooting pain or numbness: A sharp, electricity-like pain is a sign of nerve involvement. If a nerve gets trapped or compressed, you can experience pain and numbness anywhere along the length of the nerve. Compression of nerves in the thigh and the lower back are the most common sources of nerve-related hip pain.
- Stiffness: Stiff hips are most common in young male athletes who do not have a very good range of motion in their hips. They often attribute the limitations in the range of motion to being very muscular, but we know that it frequently is a structural problem related to femoroacetabular impingement.
Treatment Options to Extend the Life of Your Hip Joints
- Injections: Hip joint injections are a great temporary solution to reduce pain and inflammation of the joint. These are very beneficial in milder cases but can also be very helpful for patients who may need surgery but are unable to have an operation immediately. Injections are completed in the doctor’s office, with the appointment taking around an hour.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help improve movement and muscle imbalances that could be leading to hip pain. This treatment option can be used on its own and is frequently used in combination with injections or after surgery.
- Minimally Invasive Surgery: There are minimally invasive surgeries that can aid in increasing movement and extend the life of your natural hip joints.
No matter what causes hip pain in young adults, scheduling an evaluation with Dr. Hicken is critical. Left untreated, hip pain can lead to arthritis in later life. On the other hand, early treatment may prevent disability and avoid the need for joint replacement. If you or your child are experiencing hip pain, contact the office and schedule your evaluation today.