Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment
We use our hips for almost everything we do, so it’s no surprise they’re an important part of our body. They are our largest joints, and we use them a lot – when we’re standing, walking, or even sitting still. So, experiencing hip pain can really stop us in our tracks. Hip pain can be felt in the joint itself, or in the soft tissue that surrounds it, and the pain can range in severity from mild to severe. Whatever the reason for the severity of hip pain, it can make everyday life challenging in several ways.
How your hip works
Hips comprise a ball-and-socket joint, formed where the thighbone (femur) joins the pelvic bone. The joint is covered with tissue and powered by large muscles which are attached to the bone via tendons. When all parts of the hip are healthy, it allows us to walk, squat, and turn easily and without pain.
Symptoms of hip pain
Hip pain can be mild or quite severe. It may come on suddenly or steadily increase in severity. Common symptoms of hip pain include:
- Pain in the hip joint
- Limping or difficulty with walking
- Reduced range of motion in the hip joint
- Pain when weight-bearing
- Referred pain in the thigh and knee.
Common causes of hip pain
There are many causes of hip pain. Some of these include:
Arthritis is a name for several conditions which affect the joints of the body. This includes osteoarthritis, which involves degeneration of the joint cartilage and changes in the bones of the joint. Another common type of arthritis experienced in the hip is Rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in joints. People may experience pain, stiffness, inflammation or reduced range of motion in the hip.
While more common in older people, hip fractures can cause significant pain. Bones become less dense as we age, leaving us more susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis, a disease resulting in the loss of bone tissue, is also more prevalent among the older population.
Typically the result of injury or trauma, hip dislocation happens when the thigh bone is pushed out of the socket. This is usually the result of trauma or injury and can be very painful.
Sometimes pain that feels like it’s coming from the hip joint may in fact be related to another part of the body. Sometimes issues in the back or knee can cause pain to be referred to the hip joint and the soft tissue structures that surround it.
Another cause of hip pain is trochanteric bursitis. This condition occurs when the bursa, which is a liquid-filled sac near the hip joint, becomes inflamed. Pain is often experienced on the outer side of the hip and the condition occurs because of irritation of the soft tissues surrounding the outer hip due to overuse or local muscle weakness.
Hip tendonitis is painful inflammation or irritation of a tendon in the hip. It’s commonly experienced by athletes and those who take part in sports like running, cycling or swimming.
How to treat hip pain
The first step in treating hip pain is identifying the genuine cause of the pain. Any relevant tests and x-rays should be completed to first establish why the pain has started. From here, your physiotherapist will determine the best treatment options for you. Treatment will be specific to your condition and pain severity, but could include:
- Strengthening exercises
- Heat or cold therapy
- Supportive taping
- Dry needling
- Stretching exercises.
How can The Brisbane Spine Clinic help?
Suffering from hip pain? Whether you’ve been experiencing hip pain for a short or long period of time, we can help. Book an appointment with our specialist team today for an assessment.