Your body changes with age, and your health can change along with it. Your hips are one area of the body that can go through significant changes over time, some of which can lead to chronic pain and even disability. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to manage hip problems and lower your risk for severe complications.
Our expert team at Northland Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri, diagnoses and treats a range of painful hip conditions. Here, we explore several age-related hip conditions and ways we can help.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and your hips are a common place for it to take hold. Caused by “wear and tear” over time, OA happens when cartilage within a joint starts breaking down, causing changes in underlying bones that spur pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The longer you live, the more likely you’ll be to experience these changes in your hips. Your risk is even higher if you have additional risk factors for hip arthritis, such as previous hip injuries, obesity, or family history of the disease. In some cases, hip OA causes reduced physical function or full on disability.
Your risk for hip fractures increases with age as well. If you develop osteoporosis, an age-related condition marked by weak or brittle bones, it can be easy to take a spill and break one or more of your hip bones.
Even without osteoporosis, increasing age can make you more vulnerable to falls that may result in fractures, because of issues like poor vision, balance problems, and taking multiple medications. Such falls are the leading cause of hip fractures.
Bursitis causes inflammation and irritation of fluid-filled sacs known as bursa sacs. Because these sacs help ease friction between your bones, muscles, and other tissue, damage can lead to additional pain and swelling. While you can develop bursitis around any joint, hip bursitis is one of the most common forms.
Hip bursitis tends to develop after age 40, with risks increasing with older age, because it’s typically caused by repeated pressure on or overuse of a joint. In addition, age makes your joints less elastic and more vulnerable to tearing. You may be more prone to hip bursitis if you’ve spent a great deal of time engaging in certain activities, such as skiing, playing tennis, shoveling, or gardening. Sitting or standing with poor posture and skipping stretching when you exercise also increase your risk.
If you’re experiencing ongoing or recurrent hip pain or stiffness, our team can help pinpoint the cause and recommend treatment by way of a comprehensive exam. Depending on the specifics of your symptoms, your provider may order an image test, such as a CT scan or MRI, to confirm your diagnosis. You might also need hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a tiny camera to capture images around your hip.
Treatment for hip conditions may include physical therapy, joint injections, massage, laser therapy, or oral medications. In many cases, a combination of therapies does the trick. For severe cases that don’t respond fully to conservative treatment, we may suggest hip replacement surgery.
To learn more about surgery for fractures or get the care you need, call Northland Orthopedic & Sports Medicine or request an appointment on our website.