What is a Joint?
A joint is formed by the ends of two or more bones that
are connected by thick bands of tissue called ligaments.
For example, the knee joint is formed by the lower leg
bone, called the tibia or shinbone, and thighbone, called
the femur. The hip joint is a ball - and - socket joint,
formed by the ball, or femoral head, at the upper end
of the thighbone, and rounded socket, or acetabulum, in
the pelvis. The ends of the bone in a joint are covered
with a smooth, soft material called cartilage. Normal
cartilage allows nearly frictionless movement. The rest
of the surfaces of the joint are covered by a thin, smooth
tissue lining called the synovium. The synovium produces
fluid that acts as a lubricant to reduce friction and
wear in the joint.
Common Causes of Joint Pains:
One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis.
The pain can also be caused by deformity or direct injury
to the joint. In some cases, joint pain is made worse
by the fact that a person will avoid using a painful joint,
weakening the muscles and making the joint even more difficult
The medical management of arthritis and joint degeneration
may be handled by a family doctor, a physician, or a
rheumatologist. However, when medical management is not
effective, an orthopaedic surgeon should be consulted
to determine if surgery is an option. In some cases,
the orthopaedic surgeon may be the first physician to
see a patient and make the diagnosis of arthritis.
Obtaining a Quality Diagnosis:
The Orthopaedic Evaluation:
While every orthopaedic evaluation is different, there
are many commonly used tests that an orthopaedic surgeon
may consider in evaluating a patientís condition.
In general, the orthopaedic evaluation usually consists
- A thorough medical history
- A physical examination
- Additional tests, as needed
What the physician sees during the physical examination,
which includes standing posture, gait analysis , sitting
down, and lying down, helps confirm the possible diagnosis.
The physical exam will also enable the orthopaedic surgeon
to evaluate other important aspects of your hips,knee and
legs, including : Size and length,Range of motion, Reflexes,
Strength, Swelling, Skin condition.etc
If you are experiencing pain in your hip joint, your
back may be examined because hip pain may actually be
the result of problems in the lower spine. After the
physical examination, X-rays evaluation is usually the
next step in making the diagnosis. The X-rays help show
much joint damage or deformity exists.
An abnormal X-ray may reveal :
- Narrowing of the joint space
- Spurs on the edge of the bone
- Areas of bony thickening called sclerosis
- Deformity or incorrect alignment
- Cysts in the bone
Occasionally, additional tests may be needed to confirm
the diagnosis. Laboratory testing of your blood, urine,
or joint fluid can be helpful in identifying specific
types of arthritis and in ruling out certain
diseases. Specialized X-rays of the back can help confirm
that hip pain isnít being caused by a back problem.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a bone scan may
be needed to determine the condition of the bone and
soft tissues of the affected joint.
Following the orthopaedic evaluation, the orthopaedic
surgeon will review and discuss the results with you.
Based on his or her diagnosis, your treatment options
may include :
- Physical therapy
- Joint fluid supplements
- Joint replacement