The hips and knees are your body’s chief weight-bearing joints. Because they bear your weight all day, every day, they are subject to injury, arthritis, aging, and trauma.
So, hip and knee pain are quite common, and the pain can often interfere with daily life and activities. What treatment choices do you have? Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) about hip and knee pain treatment, as well as where you can go in San Antonio for excellent treatment.
Why Do My Hips and Knees Hurt?
People suffer from joint pain for a variety of reasons, including genetics, disease, or injury. An orthopedic surgeon can pinpoint those reasons and prescribe a treatment plan to improve your mobility and pain.
For many American adults, hip and knee pain is caused by osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis in which the protective cartilage in your joints wears down due to overuse from sports, years of hard physical labor, and/or the aging process. Osteoarthritis and other kinds of arthritis run in families as well.
Do I Have to Have Surgery?
The short answer is no unless you have advanced joint degradation. At that point, your joints are so weak that you are prone to other injuries and need a joint replacement to decrease your risk of further health problems.
While arthritis cannot be cured outright, arthritis pain can be managed with other methods besides surgery, such as physical therapy, pain medication, and joint injections.
To determine the health of your joints as well as which knee and hip pain treatments would benefit you the most, your orthopedic specialist will do a complete examination of your painful joints. This may include imaging – X-rays, MRI, or CAT scan – a review of symptoms, and your medical history. Your orthopedic surgeon may also perform a gait analysis, in which they observe how you walk and otherwise move your joints, which can reveal reasons for pain.
Will Physical Therapy Help Me?
Physical therapy is a wonderful treatment modality that helps manage a wide range of pain and mobility issues. Often, it is the first and best choice to control pain, delay or avoid reconstructive joint surgery, or prepare a patient for an upcoming surgery or other treatments.
Physical therapists use many kinds of interventions to improve function, manage pain, and help patients maintain movement and independence, such as:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Heat and cold therapy
- TENS therapy
- Durable medical equipment, such as a cane
If you do end up needing joint surgery, physical therapy is critical to the success of a hip or knee replacement. Rehabilitation of the joint begins right after surgery and continues for weeks or months to ensure the patient heals properly and regains as much function as possible in the joint.
What Kind of Pain Medication is Best for My Knee and Hip Pain?
Some people find sufficient pain relief from over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen. When this is no longer enough, the next option is minimally invasive procedures like ultrasound-guided joint injections. Your orthopedic specialist will administer cortisone, pain relievers, and/or hyaluronic acid directly into the joint. Hyaluronic acid works like a lubricant in your joint and helps hips and knees move more freely. Opiates are a last resort for pain management because of their addictive properties.
Knee and Hip Pain Treatment at Your Orthopedic Clinic in South Texas
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, Drs. Millican, Jones, and Skunda, along with their support professionals, help hundreds of patients in the San Antonio area control knee and hip pain and get back to the lives they enjoy.
If you’d like to learn more about which pain management options may be right for you, please call our office at (210) 692-7400 to schedule an appointment. You can also request an appointment here. We look forward to serving you!