How Do I Choose the Best Hip Specialist?

Debra Barnhart

Orthopedic doctors specialize in treating problems related to the skeleton and joints, including hip problems. Finding a doctor who listens to the patient’s concerns, and who makes the patient feel comfortable is important. Choosing the best hip specialist often depends on the nature of the problem. For those who want to find the best treatment, consultation with an arthritis doctor might be necessary if arthritis is the cause of hip pain. If surgery is recommended, it is frequently advised to seek a second opinion.

Serious damage to the hip may require a hip replacement to fix.
Serious damage to the hip may require a hip replacement to fix.

Consultation with several doctors is often necessary to find the best hip specialist. A primary care doctor can provide the names of several specialists. A patient should be comfortable with the doctor and feel that he or she has a clear understanding of the hip problem as well as its causes and associated pain. A doctor’s credentials and experience are an important consideration, but many doctors have great credentials and lack “bedside manner.” For some patients this is okay, but for others lack of “bedside manner” is not tolerable and may impact recovery, especially if there are post-surgery complications.

Hip specialists should understand bones and joints as well as have good bedside manners.
Hip specialists should understand bones and joints as well as have good bedside manners.

The causes of hip pain may influence the choice of a hip specialist. Hip problems include muscle strain, tendinitis, arthritis, bursitis and bone malformations. While many of these conditions can be treated without surgery, it is sometimes a necessity to improve quality of life. If the hip mechanisms are worn out beyond repair, a hip replacement is often recommended. Some orthopedic doctors specialize in joint replacement.

The cause of hip pain will determine the treatment plan.
The cause of hip pain will determine the treatment plan.

In some cases of hip pain, it may be a good idea to consult a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in arthritis conditions. This is especially true if the patient has rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that can affect many of the body’s joints. The rheumatologist will do a full evaluation of the skeletal system as well as conduct blood tests. Oral medication, exercise and physical therapy can sometimes help reduce pain and increase mobility.

It is a good idea to consult several doctors when hip surgery is required.
It is a good idea to consult several doctors when hip surgery is required.

To find the best hip specialist when surgery is required, it is a good idea to consult several doctors. When surgery is recommended a patient may be fearful. He or she may want to have the surgery performed quickly but should remember that medicine is both a science and an art. Surgeons have different operating styles, and each surgery requires a good deal of judgment. A patient should understand the recommended surgical procedure and the different surgical techniques that can be used to correct hip problems; different techniques work better for different patients depending on their physical health and mental attitude.

Some hip specialists focus their practice on sports injuries and accidents while others work most frequently with seniors.
Some hip specialists focus their practice on sports injuries and accidents while others work most frequently with seniors.

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