Skip to main content
Sign In

Department of Orthopedics

Department of Orthopedics
 

Hip Pain

What's causing it—and what we can do about it


Hip anatomy

When you come to us with hip pain, we do everything we can to preserve your original hip. However, sometimes a total hip replacement is needed. We always strive for a minimally invasive approach that gets you back to your normal life as soon as possible.

Learn more about the anatomy of the hip, common conditions we see, and surgical approaches we take.

Anatomy

The hip, a "ball and socket" joint, is one of the largest joints in the body. The socket is the acetabulum—part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, or the top of the femur (thigh bone).

The bone surfaces of the joint are covered by articular cartilage, which protects and cushions the bones to allow easy moment. The joint surface is then covered by an important lining: the joint capsule produces a small amount of fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint.

Common Conditions

Learn more about common hip conditions we see, including an overview, cause, symptoms, and treatment. 


Surgical Approaches

Direct Anterior

We specialize in the direct anterior approach to hip replacement, with eight years of experience with the procedure. This approach has very low dislocation rates, allowing you to return to your normal life much faster than with other approaches.

This technique involves the use of a single incision, which is typically 6-10 cm in length on the front and lateral side of your hip. This allows direct access through the front of your hip joint and minimizes the amount of muscle damage. It also allows the surgeon to use intra-operative X-rays to adjust leg length and offset with visualization. The anterior capsule is typically repaired at the end of the case. 

After surgery, most patients are admitted for one to three days. Patients can expect to put full weight down on the leg immediately after surgery without range of motion precautions. Typically patients start walking with an assistive device and can walk without the device after two or three weeks. 


Posterior Lateral

This technique involves the use of a single incision. The incision length is 6-10 cm, oriented from the front of the hip at its bottom-most point to the back of the hip at the top. The release of two tendinous structures is performed and then repaired at the end of surgery for added stability and restoration of anatomy. The capsule of the hip, a strong thick protective sheet covering the hip joint, is also repaired. 

This approach avoids disrupting the gluteus medius muscle, a significant hip abductor and stabilizer for the joint. 



After surgery, most patients are admitted for one to four days. Patients may expect to put weight down on the leg immediately after surgery. Instruction is given on how to restrict movement to protect the hip until full tissue healing occurs, approximately 12 weeks after surgery. Patients may progress from a walker-assistive device to crutches in one to two weeks after surgery.

Anterior Lateral

Like the posterior-lateral approach, this technique involves use of a single incision that is 6-10 cm. The incision is oriented longitudinally over the hip on the affected side. A portion of the muscle or bone is temporarily removed from the front of the femur bone to expose the front of the hip joint. Likewise, the hip capsule, the strong thick covering over the hip joint is opened to expose and work within the joint. Both the hip capsule as well as the muscle or bone tissue are repaired to the original position at the conclusion of surgery. 

This technique has the potential for a slightly lower dislocation rate. Some patients are better candidates for an anterior-lateral approach. For specific situations, such as muscular weakness or predilection for falling, talk to your physician. 



Post-operative care and rehabilitation is identical to the posterior-lateral approach with the exception of movement precautions. After surgery, most patients are admitted for a period of one to four days. Patients may expect to put weight down on the leg immediately after surgery. Full tissue healing occurs, approximately 12 weeks after surgery. Patients may progress from a walker-assistive device to crutches in one to two weeks after surgery.

Back to top »