Seeing the news recently that Andy Murray has undergone a hip resurfacing and made a succesful return to Wimbledon made me think when is the right time to consider surgery for hip pain and if so what type of surgery? Gary Jones Clinic Director at PHYSIO 206 discusses the why, what and when of common types of hip surgery in this blog 
Hip and groin pain is a common problem we treat affecting all generations of life. There can be multiple reasons for this such as slipped femoral epiphysis (S.U.F.E) in children (which I may add does require immediate surgical intervention), referred pain from the lower back and pelvis and soft tissue injuries including groin strains and tendon issues. However, the most common cause of groin pain is actually in relation to an issue effecting the hip joint and in particular the cartilage that lines the surface of the joint, "Arthritis", "wear and tear" or "age related change" as it is often referred too. 
The conundrum that many orthopaedic surgeons face and the challenges this poses to you the patient and us as the therapist could be demonstrated no more clearly than in the case of Andy Murray and his annoucement that he was considering retirment from professional tennis due to his persistent hip pain. He has said that he wanted a better quality of life and having a partial joint replacement in the form of a hip resurfacing is one potential way of giving him this. 
Yes you did hear that correctly. A partial joint replacement. Essentially Andy Murray has an arthritic hip at the age of 32. No offence intended but when people start thinking about joint replacement we are generally talking from the age of 50 plus. He's certainly got a good few years to go there and this is where the management of people, such as Andy (we are not personal friends by the way), who have pain related to cartilage loss at the joint becomes more tricky. Whether that's a hip, knee or ankle joint the options out there to patient's are not the golden panecea. 
Why do people develop symptoms in relation to Osteoarthritis from an early age. There is lots of debate and conjecture around this subject. Essentially if you were to x-ray or scan anyone's hips from the age of 30/35 onwards you are likely to see some changes in the cartilage that lines the surface of the joints. This applies to all joints. However, not everyone will experience pain. The following reasons have been suggested for developing osteoarthritis at an early age: 
Genetics - In other words "blame you parents!" A family history of joint replacement is often reported. 
Trauma - If there has been a fracture this can lead to the earlier onset of arthritis. 
Congential reasons - Another one to thank the folks for! Essentially some people are born with a hip joint that is a certain shape that can pre-dispose them to the early onset of osteoarthritis. 
There has also been some suggestion that certain lifestyle factors can impact on the quality of the cartilage that lines the surface of yoru joints. This includes things such as a high body mass index (i.e being overweight can cause increased pressure on the joints), smoking and nutritionial deficiencies. 
Females that are post menopausal 
Occupational and recreational activities - This is a more tenuous link as we see equal amounts of people that lead very active lifestyles and sedentary lives that require joint replacement. 
One of the main reasons cited for developing Osteoarthritis in the hip over recent years has been the diagnosis of a condition called hip impingement. Hip impingement is ... There are 3 types. 1. Cam Impingement 2. Pincer Impingement. 3. Mixed impingement.  
So what are the options in terms of treatment for the management of an arthritic hip in a young adult. 
1. Conservative Management 
This essentially means getting the best out of your hip joint in terms of function without having operative intervention. This is such an important part of the management process and needs to be done with an holistic outlook and is stronly recommended before going down the operative route. Andy Murray certainly tried this for several months before accepting that there was no other option. 
Physiotherapy can help  
2. Surgical Management 
Hip Arthroscopy 
Hip Resurfacing 
Hip Replacement 
Tagged as: Hip pain, Osteoarthritis
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