Like many other orthopedic conditions, there is no quick fix for most hip injuries. The treatments vary depending on the specific injury, but there are some common approaches to treating many hip injuries. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about some of these treatments?
Sure thing, Major Spencer. For minor injuries, the suggested treatment follows the acronym P.R.I.C.E., which stands for protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If an injury affects the normal function of your leg and hip after 24 to 48 hours, you should contact your provider.
Treatment for hip strains may include rest, medicines, and ice. Immediately after the injury, heat can increase swelling, but after 72 hours, alternating the application of ice and heat to the injury can relieve pain and improve range of motion. Do not use heat on a bruise as it can cause bone to form within the muscle. As a rule of thumb, if your muscle strain is painful, use ice. Once the pain has subsided or is negligible, alternate ice and heat.
Your provider may also recommend using crutches for a few days to limit the weight on your hip. Severe strains where the muscle fibers are completely torn may require surgery.
Treatment for a hip dislocation, if there are no other injuries, is a procedure called reduction. The patient is given an anesthetic or sedative, and the provider manipulates the bones back into their proper position. In rare cases, torn soft tissues or small bony fragments block the femoral head from going back into the socket. These cases require surgery to remove the loose tissue before a reduction can be done.
Hip fractures require surgical treatment. Depending on the exact location and type of fracture, one or more screws will be fixed to the bones to repair the fracture and stabilize the joint. Some fractures may also require the use of an intramedullary nail, which is placed directly into the marrow canal of the femur. In some cases, particularly in older patients, the femoral head is damaged so badly that a hip replacement is necessary.