Don’t Let Hip or Knee Pain Hold You Back This Summer 

Don’t Let Hip or Knee Pain Hold You Back This Summer 

Writer / Dr. Michael Gabbard, Orthopedic Surgeon at IU Health West Hospital

Hip or Knee Pain

By May, most of us are ready to shake off the winter blues and enjoy outdoor activities. Don’t let hip or knee pain slow you down this summer. Here are some common hip and knee conditions, ways to alleviate pain and maintain joint health, as well as signs that you may want to consult your doctor.

Common hip and knee conditions, and treatment

Common hip and knee conditions include tendonitis, bursitis and osteoarthritis. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. This often results from overuse of a tendon during activities. Bursitis is inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, that cushion and protect muscles and tendons. This can be caused by repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the joint. Osteoarthritis is when cartilage, the smooth lining of the joint, wears down over time from activity and aging.

Each of these conditions can result in pain, swelling and/or stiffness about the joints. These symptoms can cause difficulty with many activities people enjoy and can even start to cause problems with regular, everyday activities.

Common ways to alleviate the pain from these conditions are rest, ice, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercise programs. You can also take over-the-counter arthritis and anti-inflammatory medications, or apply topical pain creams and gels. If these are not working, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or injections as a next step. These treatments, alone or in combination, often provide very good pain relief for many patients.

When you should see your doctor

If you are feeling hip or knee pain that is not improving and is interfering with your activity, it is time to consult your doctor for evaluation and to discuss options. They will work with you to identify the condition you are dealing with, and to discuss what additional options might be best for you. Most tendonitis and bursitis can be improved with the above treatments, and rarely require surgery.

In the case of osteoarthritis, if it is severe and symptoms are not improving with nonsurgical treatments, some patients may elect to have a joint replacement surgery. Your doctor will help you decide if this may be the right choice for you.

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