What is a hip preservation doctor?

Hip pain can make mobility and simple daily activities a struggle. When you think about hip pain, hip replacement surgeries likely come to mind. The ideal outcome when treating problems with the hip joint, however, is for a patient’s original hip joint to be preserved rather than surgically replaced. A hip preservation doctor specializes in ensuring just such an outcome.

Hip preservation doctors recognize the importance of maintaining and treating a patient’s natural hip joint — particularly among younger patients, heavier people and those who engage in frequent physical activity. Surgical hip replacements are artificial. They are typically composed of materials like metal, ceramic or plastic. Although these materials can be quite durable, their synthetic nature makes them susceptible to degradation over time. Preservation of the natural hip joint for as long as possible avoids the potential need for repeated surgeries to repair damages that may occur as a result of physical activity or simple wear and tear. Appropriate treatments vary depending on the cause of the pain.

Hip pain can often be treated with pain medications and modifications to behavior. If you’re suffering from hip joint pain, a hip preservation specialist may recommend or prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medication as the initial effort to alleviate your symptoms. Pain medication may be accompanied by recommendations for behavioral changes. Such changes can include adjusting your sitting and walking posture, engaging in certain types of exercises, adjusting the way you exercise and eliminating potentially harmful exercises or activities from your routine. Regular physical therapy may benefit some patients.

In cases of more severe pain, your doctor may choose to administer pain medication injections to target the source of the pain directly and provide more localized, immediate relief. Some pain medication injections have been successful in providing relatively long term relief.

When less invasive treatments prove ineffective, there are surgeries available that may preserve the natural hip joint for as long as possible. In such procedures, the position of the existing hip joint is adjusted so that it is better able to support the weight and activity of the patient. Because the remaining life expectancy of younger patients is longer than that of older patients, it is important to make every effort to preserve the original hip joint in those under age 50. The longer a person has an artificial hip, the more opportunity there is for the materials used to wear out, resulting in additional surgeries.

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POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!