Hillcrest Rockhampton Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


Responding to hip and knee pain

Jun 21, 2021

Hip and knee pain can be quite common, particularly with age, so it’s good to know what potential solutions may be.

Hillcrest Rockhampton Private Hospital physiotherapist Carmela Birch said hip and knee pain can occur for many reasons including trauma, injury, degeneration or abnormal movement patterns.

“People can get knee pain because of an issue in an adjacent joint, for example if the ankle is very stiff the knee will compensate and pain may result because of the additional load on the knee,” she said, adding if it is treated early, this may reduce any long term damage.

Ms Birch suggests if pain persists beyond a couple of days or affects ability to move, it can be a sign something needs to be addressed – so it can be worth a visit to a GP or a physiotherapist. 

“We can do a full body assessment, including movement analysis and orthopaedic testing to figure out the cause of the pain, rather than just treating symptoms.”

Hillcrest orthopaedic specialist Dr James Roche said while physiotherapists were often a patient’s first port of call, if hip and knee problems persist and impact activities of daily life, a specialist referral may be required.

Dr Roche said while joint pain in younger people may be acute as a result of a sporting injury, in older people the pain tends to be degenerative joint disease like arthritis and influencers may include a previous trauma, family history or overuse.

Orthopaedic specialist Dr Rishi Kaushal said joint pain management options may include things like physical therapy, weight loss and anti-inflammatories. If such options are maximised and symptoms persist, surgery may be considered.

He said it’s important that people know what to expect, how to prepare for surgery and what to do afterwards.

“Patients need to have realistic expectations after joint replacement – and avoid high impact activities to maximise the life span of a prosthetic joint for 20 years plus. It’s a quality of life operation: usually the joint pain goes away and function vastly improves as a result.”

In September, Hillcrest Rockhampton Private Hospital invested in a two-million-dollar robot offering orthopaedic surgeons an additional treatment option to carry out knee and hip replacements.

Dr Kaushal said the robotic assistance helps him plan and precisely carry out these operations.

“A special CT scan allows us to build a 3D model of the knee and implant positioning can be planned and then tweaked in theatre based on the soft tissue balance. It’s not disrupting the soft tissues as before, so it protects important structures like ligaments,” he said.

Dr Roche said Hillcrest has orthopaedic patients come from far and wide including Longreach and Bundaberg – especially now that it has robotic surgery options, which were previously only available in South East Queensland.

Hillcrest has Specialist Centres in Gladstone and Emerald to give locals easy access to orthopaedic specialists for pre- and post-operative care.

Dr Rishi Kaushal (L) and Dr James Roche (R) demonstrate the Mako robot for joint replacement.