Hip Pain (cont.)
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Self-Care at Home
As we age, the body tends to tolerate falling less easily. Falls often can cause contusions (or bruising) and inflammation of the tissues that are damaged. This pain may not be felt immediately, and the injured area may begin to stiffen and get sore over a few hours. If the patient can stand and walk relatively easily with minimal limp, then it is reasonable to rest and ice the injured areas and begin activity as tolerated.
Just because a patient can move the hip joint does not mean that there cannot be a broken bone. In some hip fractures, the bones may be impacted and allow some movement or even weight-bearing for a short period of time.
Over-the-counter pain medications (acetaminophen [Tylenol], ibuprofen [Advil], naproxen [Aleve]) may be used. It is important to remember that while over-the-counter medications do not require a prescription, they may have side effects or interactions with prescription medications. Especially in older people, it is wise to ask a health care professional or pharmacist for advice and direction.
Crutches, a cane, or a walker may be useful in the short term, but these need to be fitted to the patient's height, and some people may need training to use them properly. Usually, the pain and stiffness will resolve over a few days. If the pain persists or starts to worsen instead of getting better, medical evaluation may be helpful.
Hip pain and soreness that develop because of overuse but without any specific injury may be cared for at home with rest and gradual return to full activity. While rest is important, it is also important to maintain range of motion, meaning that attempts should be made to stretch the leg, hip, and back and keep the whole body moving.
Care for hip pain that exists because of an underlying medical condition should be coordinated with the health-care professional. Often, the hip pain will be episodic, depending upon the control of the medical condition.
If the hip pain is associated with activity like aggressive walking or running, resting from that activity may be helpful. Finding another non-weight-bearing activity, like cycling, may allow the patient to maintain aerobic fitness and hip range of motion. It is important to listen to one's body and if pain persists, medical care should be accessed.
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