The hip is the largest weight-bearing joint in the body. Responsible for smooth motion of the legs, this ball-and-socket system can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. While the hip may be one of the most rugged joints in the human body, it isn’t indestructible and can wear down over time—causing pain and limited movement.
If you are experiencing problems with your hips, our board-certified orthopaedic specialists want to help. Here at South Florida Orthopaedics, we value your opinion and input into your care and will work with you on lifestyle modification and non-surgical treatment as applicable before considering surgery. With the most advanced techniques in South Florida, find out more about what makes us different:
Causes & Symptoms
As the largest joint in the body, the hip withstands lots of use and sometimes even a bit of abuse. The most common cause of hip problems comes from arthritis. Both osteoarthritis and the autoimmune form known as rheumatoid arthritis cause inflammation inside the joint that causes the cartilage and other supporting structures of the hip to wear down, or even wear completely away. When this happens, the normal cushioning mechanism that kept you pain-free during your lifetime is eliminated, resulting in stiffness, limited motion and discomfort.
Hip problems may be triggered by long-term causes like arthritis or sudden events like a fall or traumatic injury, and any pain or change in your hip function should be evaluated by a professional.
Symptoms of hip complications will vary from person to person but may include:
- Pain with movement or use
- Limited range of motion or mobility
- Feeling as though your legs are different lengths
- The appearance that one hip does not look like the other
- Pain that causes you to limp or not be able to bear weight fully
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Many patients fear a trip to the doctor because they believe that surgery will be the only option offered. While many physicians may use surgical care as a first choice, it’s not the way of South Florida Orthopaedic’s team of professionals. Some medical conditions will require a trip to the operating room and our doctors use their best clinical judgment to make that decision, but when you have other options, we want you to be able to use them to improve your bone and joint health—without going under the knife. While not all of these services are available in our offices, we support a variety of non-surgical treatments for the bones and joints including:
- Physical therapy
- Low-impact exercise programs (swimming, walking)
- Weight loss
- NSAID medications to relieve the inflammatory process
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A hip fracture is more serious than just breaking a bone. Most hip fractures result in adults over the age of 65, or in younger adults and children because of a traumatic injury, and will require surgery to repair.
For older adults a hip can be broken with just a minor fall. As bones age they can lose some of their strength and become more susceptible to a fracture. Most people think that osteoporosis is the only cause of a broken hip but this simply isn’t true. While many people with brittle bones are more likely to suffer a fracture, anyone can break a hip.
Most hip fractures occur high on the leg—close to where the thigh bone fits into the hip socket. Common risk factors for a hip fracture include being female, poor diet, smoking, a family history of fractures or a sedentary lifestyle. Fractures are often extremely painful and require a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
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Total Hip Replacement
Total hip replacements involve removing the entire hip joint and replacing it with an artificial one. Hip joints may be replaced for a variety of reasons, including arthritis or a fracture. With both standard and minimally invasive options for the procedure, a brief hospital stay is required postoperatively, then you can expect to complete weeks of physical therapy to help regain movement and range of motion.
Recovery from a hip replacement can take 6 months to a year and your doctor will instruct you on what activities can help or harm your healing process.
With minimally invasive techniques available, South Florida Orthopaedics is one of only two providers in the region who offer the anterior approach hip replacement —speeding both healing and recovery time. Ceramic hip replacements are also available. Ceramic has been proven to last significantly longer than the metal and plastic versions traditionally used, reducing your chances of needing additional surgeries or another replacement later.
Hip resurfacing is another alternative to a total hip replacement. Hip resurfacing involves covering the top of the thigh bone with a cap where it meets the socket, and lining the socket with a matching attachment.
When used together, the joint can lubricate itself, reduce friction and allow for movement of the hip. Hip resurfacing relies greatly on the skills of the physician placing it and South Florida Orthopaedics offers a team of highly qualified physicians to complete the procedure.
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Anterior Approach Hip Replacement
A hip replacement may be one of the most dreaded surgical procedures for patients. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When the time is right, and if surgery is needed, the physicians of South Florida Orthopaedics bring professionalism and unmatched credentials to the operating room—offering you techniques that are difficult to find elsewhere in the region. In fact, we are one of only two providers in the area to offer the anterior approach hip replacement that dramatically reduces pain and downtime for a faster recovery.
The anterior approach simply means that your surgeon will access the hip joint from the front, minimizing damage to the muscles of the hip. This approach is less invasive, resulting in smaller incisions (reduced from the traditional 8 inches to just under 4 inches), a shorter hospital stay, less pain and more rapid recovery.
South Florida Orthopaedics is the largest orthopaedic practice serving patients along Florida’s Treasure Coast, including Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Jupiter, as well as Indiantown and Okeechobee. To schedule an appointment or physician referral, call us in Stuart, Florida at (772) 288-2400 or request an appointment online.
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