What are Loose Bodies in the Hip?
A loose body is a term that can be used to describe a floating piece of cartilage or bone inside of a joint. This can include the hip, shoulder, knee, elbow, ankle, etc. and signifies loose fragments that have detached from bone or articular cartilage as the result of an injury. Multiple loose bodies can also be seen in diseases such as synovial chondromatosis where the body produces excessive amounts of extra cartilage fragments. Loose bodies in the hip joint are commonly seen in both active and aging individuals. They may be a result of an acute trauma or occur from the wear and tear of daily activities and repetitive motions in the hip. In certain situations they may not cause any (or minimal) symptoms and problems for the patients who have them. But occasionally, loose bodies can be responsible pain and catching in the hip. If these are left untreated they can cause breakdown of the remaining articular cartilage by a mechanical process known as third body wear. Dr. Robert Boykin specializes in treating loose bodies in the hip for patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding communities.
Symptoms of Loose Bodies
The most common symptom associated with loose bodies (when they cause symptoms) is a sharp pain that occurs during specific motions or movements. A patient may also feel a catching or a locking sensation when performing certain activities. In severe cases a hip may lock and the patient will have difficulty moving the hip out of that particular position.
How to Diagnose Loose Bodies in the Hip
Because loose bodies are almost always the result of an injury in the hip, Dr. Boykin will not only need to determine if the loose bodies are causing the symptoms but also figure out where the loose bodies came from. The diagnosis starts with an initial history, physical examination, and X-rays. In many cases a MRI will also need to be performed to better visualize the fragments and the other damage that is likely to be present in the hip. In patients who are suffering from symptoms associated with these loose bodies, Dr. Boykin will usually recommend surgical treatment because the loose bodies and pain will not cease on their own, and modalities such as physical therapy are not effective.
Surgical Treatment for Loose Bodies
In order to relieve the symptoms within the hip, Dr. Boykin will use arthroscopic surgical techniques to remove the loose bodies. This consists of using small incisions, a camera, and specialized instruments to take out the fragments and also address any other issues that may be present in the hip. In many cases a treatment will also need to be performed for the articular cartilage on the ball or socket (depending on where the fragments came from). After the removal of any free floating loose bodies, patients will most likely feel relief quickly when performing the tasks and activities that prior to the surgery caused pain and discomfort.
Dr. Robert Boykin is an orthopedic hip surgeon treating patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding North Carolina communities. For more information regarding loose bodies or other common injuries to the hip, knee, and shoulder, please contact his office to schedule an appointment.