Non-surgical treatments available for hip pain

Q. I am only in my late ‘50s but have developed horrible left hip pain. It started as an ache about a year ago but has now really affected my lifestyle. I have pain at night that wakes me. I also have difficulty going up and down stairs as well as getting out of a chair. I saw a doctor who diagnosed me with arthritis of my hip and gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine. This has helped a little bit but my hip is still really hurting and I do not want a hip replacement just yet.

Are there any other alternative treatments?

A. Osteoarthritis of the hip is a condition caused by wearing down of the articular cartilage on the end of the hip bone and socket. The articular cartilage is the rubbery stuff on the end of a chicken bone and when this wears thin, it’s like a car tire losing its tread. This is known as osteoarthritis.

Anti-inflammatory medications such as you were given can help decrease the pain in some patients. Physical therapy is another alternative treatment, which could help maintain the range of motion of your hip and sometimes decrease your symptoms. Injections of Cortisone can be given in the hip joint but this is usually done under X-ray control, called “fluoroscopy’’ to make certain that the injection is in the right place. Some patients can have dramatic relief of symptoms for a number of months.

The indication for joint replacement surgery is when you can no longer live with the pain. Some patients find this to be the case when they cannot sleep well at night, others when they cannot participate in the activities of daily living that they enjoy. For others, it may be struggling to get out of a car, going up and down stairs or getting out of a chair.

When you have reached the point that you can no longer tolerate the symptoms, at that point hip replacement surgery can be a very effective option in relieving your pain.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

Gena Barr, outreach coordinator for the University of Miami Health System's Division of Adolescent Medicine, demonstrates how she conducts a urine sample test that determines the presence of STDs. Barr, 39, has been working at the UM clinic since 2004. “I just wanted to help people in the community," she said, adding that the clinic, which primarily serves domestic abuse victims, gave her the opportunity.


    STDs are on the rise in Miami-Dade

    Cases of chlamydia and syphilis have doubled in the last seven years, causing concern and speculation about the increase

  • Skin Deep

    What’s the difference between skin rejuvenation and skin resurfacing?

    Although the terms “skin rejuvenation” and “skin resurfacing” are often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference. Rejuvenation is anything that makes the skin look better—i.e. skincare products, treatments or in-office procedures—while resurfacing refers to a treatment or procedure that physically removes the top layer of the skin. Simply put, skin resurfacing is just one way to accomplish skin rejuvenation.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">POWER IN THE TEAM: </span>Tina Ament, of Alexandria, Virginia, holds onto a bungie cord connected to her guide, Kevin Streeter, as they go for a run on July 6 in Gainesville, Virginia. Ament, who is blind, is training for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.


    Visually impaired athlete prepares for Ironman triathalon in Hawaii

    It is grueling enough to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles, but imagine doing all of that when you can only see a blur of light ahead of you.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category