Hip Pain Causes & Treatment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 7.1% of those with chronic pain claim to feel it in their hip. If you feel hip pain for weeks, visit your local pain management doctor.
Hip Pain Overview
Hip pain is relatively common among kids and adults. Pain in the hip can occur due to different reasons and is often felt when a person sits down, stands up, exercises, or goes up and down a flight of stairs. Although we can all do our best to control this kind of pain, sometimes we cannot avoid accidents. They will just happen and cause serious injuries.
Who does it affect?
Hip pain is relatively common among kids and adults. Approximately 7.1% of those with chronic pain claim to feel it in their hip, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Understanding hip pain
The hip anatomy
One of the biggest joints bearing most of our body weight is the hip joint. This joint is where our thigh bone touches the pelvis and two form a ball and socket joint. Hence, the hip joint consists of two main components: femoral head and acetabulum. Femoral head is a ball-shaped bone piece resting at the top of your thigh bone (femur). Acetabulum is a hole in the pelvis that hosts the femoral head. There are bands of tissue known as ligaments that attach the ball to acetabulum in order to make the hip more stable. This also forms the joint capsule, which boasts a layer of a thin membrane (synovium) that generates a viscous fluid for keeping the joint lubricated.
There are also sacs full of fluid called bursae. They are designed to pad all areas affected by wear and tear. That is areas between muscles, bones and tendons. There are big muscles surrounding the hip joint and they offer support, fluid joint movements and stability.
Still in the anatomy of the hip, you will find important nerves and blood vessels. The main nerve here is also the largest: Sciatica nerve. It is located at the back of hips while femoral nerve is at the front of your hip. There is a femoral artery that runs in the pelvis and then by the front of the hip and along the thigh.
Muscles surrounding the hip joint
These are inner thigh muscles and their work is to pull your leg inward to the other leg.
These muscles are situated on the rear of your thigh and start from the hip area to knee.
These are four muscles on the front of your thigh. They begin from your hip to the knee joint.
These muscles are in the buttock area and situated on the back of hips.
It starts in the lower back and attaches to the upper femur bone.
Why does Hip Pain develops?
The causes for hip pain are several, and the pain will be mild or severe based on what’s causing it. It’s important to know that causes of systemic inflammation in the body can attack and contribute to hip pain as well. These are some of the causes for Hip Pain:
- Sciatica nerve
- Strained muscles
- A fracture of the neck or top of thigh bone(femur)
- Lumbar spine issues
- Bone cancer
- Health conditions that cause inflammation
- Pinched nerve roots
- Osteoarthritis or OA
Hip Pain Causes
There are a number of hip pain causes including hip arthritis (osteoarthritis), hip tendinitis and bursitis and various hip injuries.
Hip Arthritis – Osteoarthritis
This form of arthritis is extremely common and it entails disintegration of the cartilage. This is cartilage that covers the acetabulum and the surface of femoral head. As it breaks down it causes the bones to rub against each other, resulting in a lot of hip pain. As well as pain, OA may cause hip stiffness and loss of flexibility. In the end, bony spurs can form and worsen the pain in the groin area, buttocks and front of thighs. If a person with osteoarthritis becomes inactive for days, pain and stiffness may exacerbate. Experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms of osteoarthritis is a good reason to see a hip doctor in your area. He or she will test your hip’s range of motion and if it exists, they will carry out further tests to see if you have arthritis. To be specific, they will do an x-ray that will show if there are bony spurs, bone cysts or joint-space narrowing. As well as the doctor’s medical help, do simple exercises like biking, walking and swimming to get rid of joint stiffness. As for the pain, it can be managed easily with pain killers like Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). And if the pain gets worse, call your hip doctor right away.
Hip Tendinitis and Bursitis
Tendinitis occurs when the band of tissues that attach muscles to bones get inflamed due to overuse. When it occurs in the hip area, there will be a dull, deep ache in the groin area when one is climbing up a stair case when getting up from a chair. During examination, a doctor often asks the pain to lie down, bring their knee to their chest and then push against their hands. While doing this, the doctor will ask the patient if they feel pain in the groin. If their answer is yes, it will be concluded that their pain is as a result of tendonitis. All the same, X-rays will be done to check if there is joint damage triggered by osteoarthritis. To reduce this kind of inflammation, doctors caution against tendon overuse. So you must stop doing what causes the pain, take NSAIDs and use cold packs therapy for twenty minutes each day. If you can no longer put weight on your leg, seek medical help immediately.
Bursitis occurs when the bursae gets irritated. When this inflammation happens, it means that your tendons are no longer cushioned. Pain due to bursitis has a burning sensation and the doctor simply presses the painful spot. To get rid of this pain, it’s good to take NSAIDs according to your doctor’s instructions. Rub cold ice a few times a day will calm down the pain in the affected area. Massage is thought to increase blood flow to the aching bursa area and this boosts the healing process. The fibrous tissue on the outer side of the hips (iliotibial) should be stretched out to reduce inflammation. To stretch it out, stand up, cross your legs and touch your toes and hold for twenty to thirty seconds prior to switching legs. If notice that the pain has stayed constant for two weeks and it is stopping you from standing up or sleeping well, see a specialist.
The hip area is prone to different sorts of injuries and some can happen during an auto accident or hazardous fall. An accident can cause a bone fracture or dislocation of the femoral head (the head gets out of the socket). The hip joint that is affected by osteoporosis or a congenital deformity is so prone to even the slightest trauma.
This happens when the ball at the top of the femur slides out of the socket. This results to a lot of pain and inability to make leg movements. Dislocation of the hip bone doesn’t just happen; there must be brutal force from a dangerous fall or a car accident. Some people were born with a congenital deformity in the hip–hip dysplasia or a shallow hip socket. This problem makes them more prone to hip dislocation.
Snapping hip syndrome
When your hip is extended and it snaps, noise may or may not be heard. It can also be painful or painless. When bands of connective tissue supporting the hip get thick and catch when sliding back and forth on the top end of the thigh bone, that’s snapping hip syndrome. Underneath it the bursae exists and it can get inflamed and painful. Snapping hip syndrome mostly affects soccer players, athletes, gymnasts, ballet dancers and body builders and it is known to be a repetitive joint injury.
A broken hip can happen to anybody no matter their age. However, seniors over sixty-five years tend to supper from a broken hip. Older women are in particular more vulnerable because of osteoporosis, a condition that leads to bone loss and weakness. For a younger person’s hip to break, it will usually take a big impact such as a vehicle accident or a fall.
This refers to the damage affecting the cartilage surrounding the bony edge of your pelvis socket. This can happen due to persistent hip use and is mostly seen in the beginning stages of osteoarthritis. A labral tear can result if the hip joint gets twisted and this can be triggered by an injury.
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When you feel hip pain for several weeks, the right action to take is to see a pain management doctor in your area. This physician is trained on how to treat pain safely and properly. After doing diagnostic testing and recognizing the source of your pain, your doctor will offer treatment.
The underlying injury or disease will be cured with non-surgical or surgical procedures. In all cases, doctors consider non-surgical treatment options before doing surgery.
Treatments often including the following:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy
- Use of crutches, a walker or cane to walk
- Steroid injections
- Antibiotics, topical creams and pain killers
- Weight loss through exercises and a proper diet
Hip treatment medicines
These are drugs for relieving pain and inflammation. They can also slow down bone loss, and prevent further hip damage. Drugs that are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation are:
- NSAIDs -These are mostly preferred when one has arthritic pain. Most hip conditions can be calmed down with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Corticosteroids – These drugs heal quickly because they act like cortisone, a substance made by your body to regulate inflammation. When hip inflammation is triggered by a systematic autoimmune disease, corticosteroids can be used to reduce pain. In some situations, such as when the only inflamed area is your hip joint or bursa, the doctor can offer a corticosteroid injection.
- Analgesics – These are primarily used to reduce hip pain due to arthritis, hip injury or hip surgery. If you cannot take NSAIDs for whatever reason, including stomach issues, try analgesics.
- Biological response modifiers – These can be used for a number of inflammatory types of hip arthritis. They are simply biologic agents approved by the FDA and each of them blocks a step in the inflammation process and as they do so, they don’t suppress the whole immune system.
- Osteoporosis medicines – These are used to decelerate bone loss and to assist the body build new bone. This strengthens bones to keep them from breaking easily.
- DMARDs – These are Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These work slowly to change the course of inflammatory disease like given forms of hip arthritis: ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Hip pain surgery
If non-surgical hip treatment doesn’t work, doctors are going to perform surgery. There are different types of surgical procedure used to treat an aching hip. These include the following:
- Total joint replacement surgery – In this case, the entire hip joint is removed and then replaced with artificial components. These are called prosthetics and are made of metal, plastic or ceramic. When the hip joint is severely damaged and cannot function well, hip replacement surgery is done.
- Arthroscopy – This is a less invasive surgery done by placing a lighted scope and thin appliances via small cuts in the skin just above the hip joint. It is now being used to correct labral tears.
- Hip resurfacing surgery – This entails reshaping of the faulty femoral head and re-fitting it with a metal cover that enters into the socket. It is an alternative to hip replacement surgery that replaces the entire hip joint.
- Osteotomy – This is a major surgery where damaged sections of the hip are removed and the joint is repositioned to get rid of a deformity and to enhance its alignment and function. Osteotomy is considered when an arthritic patient is too young and active to do hip replacement surgery.
Follow up after non-surgical or surgical treatment will be determined based on the real cause of pain. After your pain gets better, recurrence can be prevented by improving your lifestyle. In other words, you should strengthen your bones via exercises and stretches and eating a balanced diet. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can be of help when you want stronger bones.
How can a doctor diagnose hip pain?
The diagnosis of hip pain starts with a physical examination and questions about your medical history. Your hip pain doctor will ask about your symptoms and how they change when you take a rest or become more active. It is also great to talk about the period you have been having hip symptoms, and whether you have had a hip illness or an injury in the past.
During a physical exam, the physician will touch your aching hip and surrounding joints searching for swollen, painful or tender points. Besides this, the doctor may perform imaging tests and laboratory tests to make a good diagnosis.
How can a doctor diagnose hip pain?
The diagnosis of hip pain starts with a physical examination and questions about your medical history. Your hip pain doctor will ask about your symptoms and how they change when you take a rest or become more active. It is also great to talk about the period you have been having hip symptoms, and whether you have had a hip illness or an injury in the past. During a physical exam, the physician will touch your aching hip and surrounding joints searching for swollen, painful or tender points. Besides this, the doctor may perform imaging tests and laboratory tests to make a good diagnosis.