A version of the following article first appeared in the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s February issue of The Voice.
Does sitting in a chair at work all day aggravate your hip? What about climbing stairs, flexing at the hip, or getting in a low chair? Pain from these types of simple activities can be tell-tale signs of a hip problem. Hip pain is very common and affects people across all age groups and lifestyles. People suffering with hip pain find it difficult to get through a day of work without discomfort, let alone do the activities they love and enjoy.
When it comes to treating hip pain, patients typically had two options – either ‘wait it out’ or undergo major surgery such as a hip replacement. Now, new treatment options are becoming available and while every patient is different, they could be an option for alleviating pain and getting back to normal faster. One such treatment is called Hip Arthroscopy, a minimally-invasive way of treating hip pain with a much quicker recovery time. It is a relatively newer and complex procedure that should only be undertaken by specialists (research suggests that a minimum of 100 hip arthroscopy procedures is needed for training) and the ideal patient for this type of procedure is 18 – 50 years old with an active lifestyle. He or she experiences hip pain in the front of the hip while active or at rest. Unfortunately, this type of procedure does not work for everyone. Patients with advanced arthritis would not see as much improvement as we’d like from a hip arthroscopy. But for patients who are ideal candidates, many of them say they didn’t realize how much pain they were truly living with until it was gone.
While we treat a variety of patients, let’s focus on a typical 45-year old. She loves to work out, but has recently been having some hip pain in the front part of the joint while jogging or sitting at work all day. It’s impacting her work life, making her less productive and more focused on her pain instead of her work. And, it’s preventing her from doing the things she loves outside of work.
Now, we have the tools to implement a complete recovery process. We know that certain types of physical therapy can be very beneficial and may help avoid any type of surgery. However, this is not always the case. When therapy doesn’t work, hip arthroscopy can be used to help repair the problem in the joint and alleviate her pain.
With the hip arthroscopy procedure, the patient has an excellent chance at running again, not to mention returning to work pain free and enjoying a significantly shorter recovery time. That’s great news for everyone!
Geoffrey S. Van Thiel, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon whose practice focuses is on minimally invasive and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, knee and shoulder. Dr. Van Thiel currently is the only orthopedic surgeon in northern Illinois region performing hip arthroscopy.