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Chronic hip pain

Millions of people suffer from hip joint pain every day. But when your pain or discomfort begins to affect your everyday life, it’s time to seek help. Geisinger’s orthopaedic specialists offer a wide array of treatment options for hip pain, from nonsurgical treatments like injections to total hip replacement surgery.

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Hip pain symptoms  

Hip pain is a common occurrence and can be caused by a variety of issues. However, pinpointing the exact location of your pain is key in properly diagnosing and treating its underlying cause. 

Where is the source of your hip pain? 

If you feel pain on the inside of your hip or near your groin area, that may indicate a problem within your hip joint. If you feel pain on the outside of your hip, upper thigh or side buttock, that may indicate a soft tissue or back problem near your hip region. 

Hip pain that lasts only a few days or weeks is called acute joint pain. Pain that lasts for several weeks or months is called chronic joint pain. 

Common symptoms of hip pain include: 

  • Pain that radiates from the thigh, groin, buttocks, or inside or outside of hip joint 
  • Clicking, popping or creaking sounds 
  • Tenderness, warmth or swelling 
  • Stiffness upon walking 
  • Pain after repetitive use or everyday activities, such as walking up steps, bending down or sitting in a chair 
  • Pain after long periods of inactivity 


Although hip pain varies from person to person, it’s important to see a health professional during the early stages of your pain. Your Geisinger orthopaedic surgeon will decide whether you can resolve your pain through proper self-management or you need additional medical care. 

What causes chronic hip pain?  

Long-lasting hip pain  can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. People of all ages and activity levels can experience pain in one or both hips. Your pain might be the result of any of these: 

  • Osteoarthritis, also called OA, is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage in your joints wears down. As the cartilage deteriorates, there is less cushioning and shock absorption around your bones, leading to severe pain and discomfort. 
    • OA commonly affects the hips, causing intense pain, aching and stiffness. Frequent symptoms include: 
      • Pain in hip 
      • Pain that seems to worsen in rain or damp weather 
      • Pain after repetitive use or long periods of inactivity 
      • Stiffness upon waking  
      • Tenderness, warmth, creaking or swelling of hip joint 
  • Post-traumatic arthritis develops after you’ve experienced an injury or accident. It could be the result of an old sports injury, or an injury that developed from repeated overuse or misuse. 
  • Being overweight or obese puts strain on your joints — especially weight-bearing ones like your hips. 
     

Girl doing a deep hip stretch in a preservation.

Hip Preservation Clinic

Are you active and age 35 or younger with hip pain? Our Hip Preservation Clinic will work with you to find an alternative to hip replacement surgery. We offer minimally invasive hip treatments to help you stay active and help reduce hip pain including:

  • Hip resurfacing, a procedure that preserves worn or damaged cartilage or bone.
  • Hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive technique that helps repair hips.
  • Osteotomy, a surgery to shift the hip inside the socket and relieve pain.

How to treat chronic hip pain

Geisinger’s orthopaedic specialists offer a wide array of treatment options for hip pain:

Nonsurgical treatments

We offer several non-surgical options that can help reduce swelling and restore mobility to your hip joint. As part of your treatment, your doctor may recommend starting with an injection such as: 

  • Cortisone – A steroid hormone commonly called a ‘steroid shot’, cortisone is directly injected into the sore joint to ease pain quickly and reduce inflammation. 
  • Gel injection - Your body naturally produces a substance called hyaluronic acid, a fluid which helps lubricate your joints. Hyaluronic acid injections, or viscosupplementation, helps increase the fluid around your joints.   
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections - Commonly known as a PRP injection, this treatment uses the healing and regrowth capabilities of platelets from your own blood. 
  • Stem cell injections – Stem cells are extracted non-surgically from bone marrow or fat tissue, then re-injected into the hip joint. 

Hip replacement surgery

If you have severe hip pain when you’re active and at rest, and you have decreased range of motion and stiffness that doesn’t go away after nonsurgical treatment, you may be a candidate for hip replacement surgery.  

Hip replacements are very common, with more than 300,000 surgeries performed in the United States every year.  

How does a hip replacement work?

The most common type of hip replacement surgery is a total hip replacement, a procedure that takes between one and three hours. During that time, your orthopaedic specialist removes damaged cartilage and bone before fitting the replacement joint, called an implant.  

Your Geisinger orthopaedic surgeon will choose an implant design that best fits you, based on your lifestyle habits and how severely your hip joint has deteriorated.   
What is total hip replacement surgery?

A total hip replacement involves removing damaged bone and cartilage around the hip and replacing them with ball-and-socket implants designed to replicate the human hip joint. The prosthetic joint, a combination of high-grade metal and plastic components, will be attached to your bone and padded with plastic to minimize friction. 
 
Your Geisinger orthopaedic surgeon will be able to select an implant design best suited to you based on your lifestyle habits the condition of your biological joint.
What is robotic-assisted hip replacement surgery?

In robotic-arm–assisted surgery, including Mako® robotic-assisted procedures, your Geisinger orthopaedic surgeon will use CT scanning to create 3-D images of your joint before the surgery to help plan the procedure. During surgery, he or she will guide the robotic arm to remove diseased bone and cartilage, then insert your hip implant.  
 
Geisinger is the sole provider of Mako™ joint replacement surgery in the region, combining highly-advanced surgical technology with the orthopaedic care you trust. 

  • This minimally invasive surgery relieves pain, restores mobility and can help you return to an active lifestyle faster. 
  • It’s important to know that a robotic arm does not independently perform your surgery, nor can it make decisions on its own or move without the surgeon’s guidance. 
 
What can I expect after a hip replacement surgery?

Thanks to advances in minimally invasive procedures, like Mako robotic arm-assisted surgery and other tactics, patients who have a hip replacement experience better results with less scarring and downtime.  

How long is hip replacement recovery time? 
Less-invasive hip replacement procedures help shorten healing and rehabilitation times, with average hospital stays being as little as two nights. Some patients even go home the same day as their surgery. 

Shortly after your surgery, your nurses and rehabilitation team will get you started with simple exercises to jump-start your muscles and get the blood flowing. After you recover for a few days, your care team will lay out a list of specific goals you’ll need to reach before they release you from the hospital, including getting in and out of bed without help, walking up and down several steps, and performing exercises with the help of a cane or walker. 

After you’re discharged from the hospital, you can stay just as connected to your surgeon and care team. Our Force Therapeutics web program and mobile app allows patients and doctors to stay in touch on a daily basis to monitor progress and recovery. The program provides timely exercise and educational videos, as well as a messaging portal to communicate with your clinical team.

How long does a hip replacement last? 
Hip replacements are very successful at reducing pain, increasing mobility and improving quality of life. In fact, the majority of hip replacements can last for a lifetime. Research shows that most people who have hip replacement surgery experience notably less pain, improved range of motion and maintain good function more than 15 years after their surgery.  

When you receive a hip replacement at Geisinger, we’ll stand behind your surgery for a lifetime. This means that if you need any follow-up care related to your surgery, Geisinger and Medacta International (an international orthopedics company specializing in the design and production of innovative orthopedic products) will stand behind the full cost of care, as long as you remain in the care of a Geisinger provider and have Geisinger Health Plan insurance. This guarantee is the first of its kind in the world.

Is a hip replacement right for me? 
If your hip joint pain has gotten to the point where it affects your daily life— such as if it hurts to walk, climb stairs or stand for extended periods of time— or your options for pain relief are not providing the support you need, consider scheduling a consultation with a Geisinger orthopaedic surgeon.

Need to see an orthopaedic doctor?

Call 855-949-2663 to schedule a consult today.
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State-of-the-art hip replacement surgery at Geisinger

Geisinger surgeons performs several hundred hip replacement surgeries every year. Our hip surgeons combine the latest innovations with surgical expertise to deliver life-changing solutions in hip care and hip joint replacements.  

Geisinger is the sole provider of Mako™ joint replacement surgery in the region, combining highly-advanced surgical technology with the orthopaedic care you trust. 
 
World-class hip care, close to home 

Exceptional orthopaedic care is never far from home, from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding communities to Danville and central Pennsylvania to the greater Harrisburg region.