If we look at the two demographics – for the elderly, especially after a fall, the incidence of hip injuries is higher and I would recommend they see a doctor early if they're developing hip pain, Dr Andrew Dutton says.
For the younger patient, often after a sports injury, Dr Dutton recommends rest, ice, and maybe take some Panadol or some short course of anti-inflammatory medicine. If it continues for longer than 2 or 3 days, then it's probably worthwhile getting a check up by a doctor.
On seeing a doctor, the doctor will ask about the mechanism of injury. If you can remember what the mechanism of injury was, you'll probably be asked what sort of sports you play and how active you are. We recommend that you bring in any regular medications you may be taking so that the doctor will be informed on, as we don't want to prescribe anything that can interact with those medications.
We will then examine the patient with a full physical examination. For the assessment of the hip there are two main radiographic investigations that we use. One is just the plain x-ray and for the elderly usually that's sufficient. From that you can see either fractures or arthritis of the hip. For younger patients, who may have more subtle injuries such as muscle tears or ligament tears, then an MRI scan would be more suitable to pick those injuries up.
Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton is a USA fellowship-trained consultant orthopaedic surgeon with subspecialty interests in keyhole and sports surgery, knee and hip replacements, cartilage regeneration and stem cell therapeutics in orthopaedics
Video contributed by Dr Andrew Dutton, orthopaedic surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital