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Common Injuries of the Hip

In an active sports population, the most common hip complaint is pain resulting from the “wear and tear” that occurs in joints through movement. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease of the articular cartilage that covers the surfaces of the ball-and-socket hip joint. When the surface of the cartilage wears away, the “bone-on-bone” friction causes pain.

There is no cure for OA, but there are ways to maintain, and in some cases, slow down the degeneration of articular cartilage. Non-surgical treatments include anti-inflammatories such as acetaminophen and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been effective in managing symptoms; however, physical therapy plays a critical role in strengthening and protecting the joint.

Determining the most effective treatment for hip pain often requires an x-ray and MRI; in some cases, a simple arthroscopic procedure will allow the surgeon to see the extent of the damage while at the same time removing loose fragments that can cause pain in the joint. Another surgical procedure called osteotomy corrects the alignment of the hip to reduce pressure and pain in the joint.

Artificial hip replacement is widely accepted as the most comprehensive solution for patients over the age of 60. Younger patients tend to be more active and are more likely to put excessive stress on the hip. Revision surgery to artificial hips is to be avoided, as these procedures are more complicated and carry certain risks.

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