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Understanding Hip Pain

I am as active now as I was before I started having pain with my hip. I’m doing everything that I was doing before, but I’m doing it without any pain. I just have to say that it’s life-transforming.
— Robert Foley, Coon Joint Replacement Institute patient

Robert found relief from living with constant hip pain, and so can you. If severe pain or stiffness makes it hard for you to walk, drive or even sleep, you can rest assured that treatments — and freedom from pain — are within reach.

The experts at Coon Joint Replacement Institute at Adventist Health St. Helena have helped thousands of people overcome hip pain while increasing mobility. Let us help you get on with your life.

About the hip joint

Many of us don’t give our hips much thought, until pain makes us realize how much we need them to move around.

The hip is called a ball-and-socket joint. The top of the femur (thigh bone) is rounded, like a ball. Normally, it fits snugly inside a bowl-shaped space (socket) in the pelvis.

Strong bands of tissue called ligaments connect the bones and keep the hip stable. And a layer of slippery tissue called cartilage covers these bones and helps them glide against each other.

Causes of hip pain

No matter how old or active you are, symptoms like hip pain, stiffness, swelling or instability are not normal. They’re signs of a problem inside the joint, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA). Also known as degenerative joint disease, OA causes loss of cartilage and inflammation in the joint. When your hip cartilage wears away, you feel the pain and friction of your bones grinding against each other.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). If your body’s immune system attacks your joints, it can cause permanent, painful bone and tissue damage.
  • Injuries. Previous fractures, dislocations or other hip injuries may cause cartilage damage. This increases your risk of developing OA later in life.

If your hip pain is mild, losing weight or nonsurgical treatments may help you feel better. But if your pain gets worse, and conservative treatments stop working, you may need surgery.

Learn more about hip pain treatments

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