Hip Pain

What causes hip pain?

Hip pain can be caused for many reasons related to damage or injury to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage or joint. Inflammation is the first stage of healing which can cause more pain from the pressure created by swelling. In other cases, disease can cause hip from either breaking down the joint or irritating nerve endings.

Why is the hip important?

The hip is a major joint that helps us stand upright and get about. We use our hips for many movements like walking, climbing stairs, and getting out of a car. Like most pains in the body, you don’t realize how much you use that body part until it becomes sensitive to any movement. Problems with the hip can lead to difficulty putting weight through your legs, stretching the leg backwards or twisting.

What makes up the hip?

The hip is major joint made up of the top of the femur and the pelvis. The technical term for the hip is the femoroacetabular joint. Unlike the shoulder, the hip really is the only joint that resembles a ball and socket. One part that the hip and shoulder have in common is a special cartilage call the labrum. In both joints, the labrum deepens the cup where the ball goes. It provides stability to the joint during movement.

What conditions cause hip pain?

  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Tendinitis
  • Labral Tear
  • Muscle Tear
  • Ligament Tear
  • Groin Strain
  • Femoroacetabular Impingement
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Flat Feet
  • Hip Muscle Weakness
  • Trigger Points
  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
  • Sciatica
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
  • Hip Fracture

What are symptoms of hip pain?

Hip pain can be reported in different parts of the hip. There are two common places client point out where their pain is on their body. First is the outside of the hip. This can indicate bursitis over the greater trochanter of the the femur. It happens to women more than men because wider hips predispose the bursa to extra rubbing. This leads to damage and inflammation.

Second most commonly reported site of hip pain is in the groin. Since the hip joint is actually angled to the inside from the top of the femur, the groin is close to where the joint ends. Stiffness will begin in this area with osteoarthritis usually before pain begins from this slow, progressive condition.

Another reason for hip pain is femoroacetabular joint impingement (FAI). This condition is due to abnormal bone growth. It can create three types of mechanisms for the pain. Click to learn more about Pincher FAI, Cam FAI, and Combined FAI.

Could the pain be coming from the SI joint instead of the hip?

Many times, clients will point to a place on the back where the pelvis and tailbone come together. This is called the Sacroiliac Joint or SI joint for short. Pain from the SI joint can be “sharp” or “twinge” and felt to the inside of the back pants pocket. The SI joint also has a little dimple on the lower back area that is pointed to when they feel hip pain.

Dr. Tom will use different special tests to figure out if the pain is coming from the hip or the SI joint. Interpreting the findings usually means reviewing the results of all tests rather than relying on just one. He will use specialist test like FABER, FADIR, Thigh Thrust, SI Joint Compression, SI Joint Distraction, and Gaenslen’s test.

Could the pain be coming from the back instead of the hip?

The back can cause symptoms of hip pain and not back pain. Some muscle trigger points that can trick a person into thinking they have a hip problem include the gluteus medius, quadratus lumborum, and the hip flexor. Each of these muscles connect to part of the pelvis and all have influence over hip function. Overworking these muscles can cause painful mini-muscle spasms called trigger points. The pain that is created from these muscles radiates towards the hip in a specific pattern.

A common hip symptom on the outside of the hip could really be the start of sciatica. Because the back and hip are so close to each other, it would be tough to know where the pain was coming from exactly. One way to figure this out is with a neurodynamic assessment using the Slump Test or Straight Leg Raise Test.

How do I relieve hip pain?

Hip pain can be annoying or it could be debilitating. Take action sooner than later is the best advice. Painful joints like the hip respond to both cryotherapy and thermotherapy. Try applying a cold pack or bag of frozen vegetables for 20 minutes. Keep a paper towel as a thin layer to protect the skin from frost bite. This can be repeated every 20 minutes. Likewise, a heating pad or hot tub could be used to warm up the area. Learn more about conservative treatment like P.R.I.C.E. Other suggestions include stretching, rolling, and strengthening.

Physical Therapy is a great way to relieve hip pain without prescription pain killers or steroid injections. In some cases, surgery will be necessary to correct a joint, repair soft tissue or set a bone.

What are some Physical Therapy treatments for hip pain?

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