Hip Pain Ain't Hip

Hip joint

“Having hip pain’s a drag!” howled a hobbling hippie to a hurrying hipster who hastily hooted back, “Yeah, hip pain ain’t hip!”  Our bipedal locomotion relies heavily on the hip joint which, like the shoulder, is a ball and socket joint offering a wide range of motion.  The primary function of the hip joint or acetabulofemoral joint is to support the weight of the body in both a static and dynamic posture.  Pain in this joint and surrounding area can emanate from a variety of causes including different types of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, bursitis, dislocation, fracture, inguinal hernia, sciatica, osteoporosis, and other health conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites the following alarming statistics on total hip replacement in the U.S. 

  • In 2010, 310,800 total hip replacements were performed among inpatients aged 45 and over.
  • From year 2000 to 2010, the number of total hip replacements among inpatients aged 45 and over increased from 138,700 to 310,800 and from a rate of 142.2 to 257.0 per 100,000 population.
  • The age distribution of inpatients aged 45 and over who received total hip replacements changed significantly between 2000 and 2010, with the percentage of total hip replacements increasing for younger age groups and decreasing for older age groups.

Due to the inherent risks associated with hip replacement, Prevention.com in conjunction with orthopaedic centers suggests the following four ways to avoid this increasingly routine surgery. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Joanne Halbrecht, MD, states “Every 10 pounds of weight gain above the waist results in an extra 75 to 100 pounds across the joints, and cartilage can only withstand a certain load before it starts to break down."
  • Get regular exercise: A regular exercise routine will aid in maintaining a healthy weight and also helps to condition the core muscles as well as the hip and back muscles.
  • Modify your activities: Avoid prolonged sitting as this causes a deep hip muscle, the piriformis, to tighten which can irritate the underlying sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica.
  • See a specialist for persistent hip pain: Discuss persistent hip pain with your PCP and ask for a referral.  Early diagnosis and treatment can help preserve the hip joint and may thwart going under the knife.

To quote Hippocrates, the Greek physician regarded as the Father of Medicine, “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.

For more related information, “hippity-hop” on over to these MEMIC Safety Net posts:

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