If you’ve been told you need a hip replacement – read this!

There is a wide misconception that any pain in the hip/groin region must come from inside the actual hip joint.  This can lead people to believe their hip joint is wearing out and eventually a joint replacement will be their only option.  The truth is, the hip is a very complex area and there are at least 4 other diagnoses which can result in pain in the hip region.  All of these diagnoses have the potential to respond well to physiotherapy if they are diagnosed and treated correctly.

The four diagnoses are:

  1. muscle related pain
  2. a labral injury
  3. an injury or wearing to a tendon, or
  4. a condition where the movement hip joint pinches the tissues surrounding the joint.

I will be doing another blog post explaining all of these at a later time – the important thing to know for the moment, is that hip replacements are quite often a drastic action to take, and possibly not even the correct one, to get the best outcome for your pain.

What we do differently is use a logical battery of clinical tests to isolate the contributing factors to the hip pain and firstly establish a correct diagnosis.  Getting the correct diagnosis is the most important thing when establishing what a treatment should be.  Often your scans can show a variety of different findings, but it doesn’t match up with the pain you’re experiencing.

True osteoarthritis of the hip will respond very differently during these clinical tests, as opposed to pain driven by the muscles, the tendons or a different joint altogether.

When the diagnosis is correct, you will feel confident you are on the right path to a successful outcome. Your symptoms will quickly improve, as the right areas will be targeted (and this will be different for each person).

Over 80% of the patients we see with hip pain have either osteoarthritis or degenerative changes on their scans… however this is, in almost all the cases, unrelated to their actual pain.  The pain is caused by a decrease in strength, or a decrease in movement.  Getting the movement confident and strong is key.  It’s important to not take imaging results at face value, and assume that because it’s on a scan then it must be the cause of the pain – it quite often isn’t.

When a person with hip pain visits, they are fully assessed to ensure they are given the correct diagnosis for their hip pain, and then prescribed the most effective treatment plan.

All staff at The Headache and Pain Management Centre are trained to assess hips – to book an appointment click on the link below, or visit the Contact Us page to find out if we can help you.

By Nikki Rathbone - APA Titled Sports Physiotherapist

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