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A Young Adults Guide to Hip Pain

By Mr Giles Stafford, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, at The Wellington Hospital.

As the population becomes increasingly aware of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, more and more people are exercising into their middle age. There has been an increase in adults taking up new sports and exercise methods which means they are working their bodies harder than ever before. Being active has countless benefits, however if the body is being pushed to new limits it is important to be aware of new injuries and pains and notice any persistent aches that won’t go away. This is particularly important as we get older as the body loses flexibility and becomes more prone to injuries. After a rigorous CrossFit session or an intense football match, a few new aches and pains might be expected but it’s important to remain cautious.
 

Recognising hip pain

Hip pain is a symptom that can often go unnoticed for long periods of time as it is commonly mistaken for groin strain. A groin strain is a muscular tear that should improve over time naturally and with physiotherapy. If the pain does not appear to be improving it is important to see a consultant for their advice. Many younger adults do not recognise the symptoms of having a hip problem and do not seek treatment.  This can lead to worsening of the hip problem and may lead to early wear and tear of the joint and the need for hip replacement surgery for people as young as 30. 

 

Generally, young adults with hip problems are more prone to develop issues because of the shape of their joints.  The hip joint is a ball and socket but it is “normal” for them not to be a perfect shape and some shapes make it more likely to develop early wear and tear.  This may go unnoticed for many years but rigorous exercise can accelerate the development of problems.

 

Symptoms to look out for:

 groin strain that is persistent and doesn’t get better with physio
 a stiff hip and difficulty bending down
 trouble sitting for long periods of time
 stiffness when getting up out of chairs.

Treatment options

I prefer to catch a hip problem before too much damage has been done to the joint at which stage we can often perform keyhole surgery.  This allows us to tidy up any damage as well as reshape the joint to prevent further damage being done. The results are good and improving all the time. The aim of surgery is to restore the patient to their normal life, sporting or otherwise, without pain.

 

In cases where there is already too much damage to the joint a hip replacement is likely to be the best option. I tend to perform uncemented hip replacements on younger patients, but this depends on their bone shape and lifestyle. Hip replacements have excellent results and  thanks to ever advancing technology patients are generally able to get back to doing all activities they wish.

To book an appointment with Mr Giles Stafford at The Wellington Hospital call 0207 483 5148
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