What is Hip Pain and Hip Joint Preservation?

The hips are one of the principal weight-bearing joints in the lower extremities and are critical for optimum function in both sports and activities of daily living. Unlike other joints in the body, the hip joint consists of a very concentric ball and socket design.

Although this design is critical for excellent leg movement in a variety of directions, it also makes the hip more prone to certain conditions that can accelerate arthritis. Additionally, there is a complex interplay of muscles, tendons and ligaments that must be optimally and dynamically balanced to avoid pain and other difficulties with motion.

Hip conditions, in most cases, can be though of as being on a spectrum ranging from preclinical disorders with early symptoms and radiographic findings to conditions that result or have led to clear degeneration of the hip:

  • Preclinical Hip Problems
    • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) with labral tear
    • Acetabular dysplasia
  • End Stage Arthritis
    • Complete loss of joint space
    • “Bone on Bone” arthritis

Given the hip joint’s unique concentric morphology, studies have shown that appropriate and well-timed intervention for some hip conditions may slow or reverse their progression.

Northwestern Medicine Hip and Knee Joint Preservation, is committed to providing patients with a scientific and evidence-based approach towards treatment of their condition, regardless of their place on the spectrum.

For some individuals with early stage problems, minimally invasive, arthroscopic solutions have revolutionized the treatment of these conditions. In situations in which end stage hip arthritis is already present, our Northwestern Medicine joint replacement experts also have tremendous expertise and experience with the latest and most cutting edge arthroplasty techniques.

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