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Treating Hip Pain

The orthopedic evaluation

We all experience minor aches and pains from time to time. But if your hip pain is so bad you can no longer enjoy your favorite activities, you should seek help from a joint specialist.

Coon Joint Replacement Institute at Adventist Health St. Helena offers expert care for hip problems. We’ll pinpoint what’s causing your symptoms and recommend treatments based on your diagnosis, age, lifestyle, goals and preferences.

Diagnosing hip pain

Your personalized treatment plan starts with a precise diagnosis. Whether you’re referred to Coon Joint Replacement Institute by your regular doctor for an orthopedic exam, or you’re looking for a second opinion, we can help.

Your comprehensive assessment may include:

  • A medical history to uncover any injuries or conditions contributing to your hip pain.
  • A physical exam to test your hip strength and range of motion, look for swelling and watch your hip movement while you walk.
  • Imaging tests to see inside the hip and confirm whether joint damage is mild or severe.

Lab tests to help identify specific types of arthritis or rule out other conditions that can cause hip pain.

Nonsurgical treatments for hip pain

If your arthritis is mild or you want to try treatments other than surgery, lifestyle changes and home therapies can improve your hip pain or slow the progress of osteoarthritis (OA). Nonsurgical options include:

  • Weight loss. Because the hip carries most of our body weight, extra weight puts extra pressure on the joint.
  • Changes in exercise. If running or other high-impact activities makes your hip hurt, switch to lower-impact alternatives like cycling or swimming.
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that strengthen your hip muscles, improve flexibility and increase range of motion.
  • Assistive devices. You can help align or stabilize your hip with shoe inserts, braces or walking aids (such as a cane).
  • Medicine. Over-the-counter or prescription medicines can help manage pain and inflammation. These include ibuprofen, cortisone injections (steroid shots), “joint grease” injections (viscosupplementation) or dietary supplements (such as glucosamine and chondroitin).

Surgical treatments for hip pain

If your hip pain comes back and nonsurgical treatments no longer help, your doctor may recommend surgery. For many people, surgery is the most effective way to overcome pain—and return to your normal activities.

At Coon Joint Replacement Institute, you’ll find a variety of safe, sophisticated surgery options.

Total hip replacement

If advanced arthritis makes it too painful to walk—and you’re in pain even while resting—you may need a total hip replacement.

Your surgeon will remove the top of your femur (thigh bone) and the bowl-shaped “socket” in your pelvis, then replace them with ceramic, metal or plastic parts. These parts are designed to glide against each other and move just like a normal hip.

Our surgeons offer less-invasive hip replacement options that may have you back on your feet faster. These include:

  • Minimally invasive hip replacement. Compared to a traditional total hip replacement, which requires an 8- to 12-inch incision, your surgeon uses a single incision that’s 3-4 inches long. Because your surgeon is cutting through less tissue and doesn’t have to disturb as many muscles and tendons, your recovery may be shorter and less painful.
  • Direct anterior hip replacement. This is a special type of minimally invasive hip replacement. Instead of making an 8- to 12-inch incision on the side or back of the hip, your surgeon will make a 3- to 4-inch incision at the front of the hip. With this approach, your surgeon will not have to detach any muscles or tendons. This helps make recovery shorter and less painful.

Drs. Diana and Moore have performed thousands of direct anterior hip replacements, making Coon Joint Replacement Institute one of the highest volume centers north of San Francisco.

Hip resurfacing

Unlike a total hip replacement which removes the top of the thigh bone, hip resurfacing leaves most of the bone intact. Your surgeon will simply shave off a few millimeters of bone and cap it with metal—just like capping a tooth. The resurfaced thigh fits neatly into the hip socket, which is also lined with metal.

Hip resurfacing is appropriate for patients who are younger, highly active and have good bone quality. It’s also an option for people with hip osteoarthritis who want to continue participating in high-impact activities after surgery.

Total hip replacement surgery and hip resurfacing both carry potential risks and complications. You and your doctor will discuss your surgical options, and the benefits and risks of each.

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