Monday Medical: Treatments for hip issues
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Editor’s Note: This is part 2 of a two-part series. Part one outlined common hip injuries.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Hip injuries are not only painful; they can significantly impact your regular life. But there’s hope for injured hips. From non-surgical treatments to hip replacements, there are options for addressing issues.
Dr. Bobby Howarth, an orthopedic surgeon in Steamboat Springs specializing in total hip replacement and a member of the medical staff at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, describes treatments for hip injuries below.
An injured hip doesn’t necessarily mean you are due for a hip replacement.
“There are always nonsurgical options we can try,” Howarth said.
A steroid injection inside the joint can decrease inflammation and allow for more normal motion, sometimes relieving pain for six to nine months.
Patients may find anti-inflammatory medications help decrease swelling and relieve pain, while a walking aid may help take pressure off the hip.
Physical therapy to strengthen the hip and abdomen may also protect the joint and allow it to function more normally, relieving pain.
Through a hip arthroscopy, a few small incisions are made around the hip joint so a surgeon can correct various issues. Procedures include removal of inflamed tissue lining the hip joint, treating labral tears, releasing tight tendons and removing bone spurs or tumors.
Keep in mind that recovery from one of these procedures can take time: In many cases, recovery from a hip arthroscopy takes longer than recovery from a hip replacement.
What: “Why does my hip hurt?” A virtual joint replacement seminar
When: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Presented by: Dr. Bobby Howarth, an orthopedic surgeon in Steamboat Springs specializing in total hip replacement and a member of the medical staff at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Registration: Online at UCHealth.org/events/hippain.
For more info: Email Michelle.Bazile@UCHealth.org
Depending on the damage to the hip, a hip replacement may be needed.
The latest surgical techniques involve minimizing the cuts in soft tissues as much as possible to allow for early recovery.
The head of the femur or thigh bone is removed and replaced with a ceramic ball, and the inside of the pelvis is lined with a plastic and metal cup.
“From a biomechanical standpoint, the new head of the joint is a little smaller, so there’s more range of motion,” Howarth said.
Care is taken to ensure that the new hip contributes to proper leg length.
“It’s important to get the leg length right,” Howarth said. “We use computers and X-rays to overlay the arthritic hip over the new hip so we can lengthen the exact amount.”
After a hip replacement
With minimally invasive surgery and proper pain medication and anesthesia, many people can go home the day of the surgery. And with the help of physical therapy, which allows patients to re-establish muscles and recreate their gate, patients may be back to doing regular activities a few weeks after surgery.
“It definitely improves your lifestyle quickly,” Howarth said. “It’s a fairly easy surgery to recover from. Even though it seems invasive, now it’s an outpatient surgery, and you can be back to normal life in a couple of weeks.”
The latest hip replacements should last for at least 25 years.
“It can be a very rewarding surgery as patients who were unable to walk one day (and) can walk around normally the next,” Howarth said. “A lot of patients say, ‘I can’t believe I waited so long.’”
Susan Cunningham writes for UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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Steamboat Springs part-time resident David Dennis is approaching the third-year mark from when his right leg was amputated below the knee.