Hip joint pain may not be a common issue amongst Singaporeans and other Asians. However, hip conditions can cause a significant impact on one’s quality of life if left untreated or poorly managed. Dr Kevin Lee was on Love 97.2FM to raise public awareness of hip pain and conditions.
Most hip joint pains are usually temporary and will go off within 2-3 weeks. Such pain does not require professional medical attention and can be alleviated with painkillers and enough rest. However, patients should seek a doctor’s attention if the pain persists for more than 2 weeks.
Patients usually feel the hip joint pain in front of the pelvis or at the sides. Pain that is felt at the back of the pelvis or at the buttocks are not considered hip joint pain. This type of pain usually symptom of lower back and spine conditions.
The cause of hip joint pain and conditions differs for different ages. For the elderly, degenerative conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis are common causes. As for young people, the causes can be categorised into three types:
- Muscle injuries or ligament inflammation from overexercising or sports injuries
- Cartilage injuries from overexercising
- Alcohol abuse or long-term consumption of corticosteroids or other drugs that can lead to poor blood circulation of the hip and bone death (avascular necrosis)
Dr Lee’s advice for patients who have to take long-term medications of corticosteroids is to go for yearly (or once every two years) MRI scans to detect for avascular necrosis. Early diagnosis of the problem can avoid the need for hip replacement, and go for minimally-invasive procedures instead. Patients can still go for lower impact exercises like swimming, brisk walking and cycling.