Hip Pain Causes & Treatments [The Complete Guide-2019]
The hip joint is probably the most used section of the human body. Whether you want to go to the bathroom, pick up something from the floor or just cough; hip joint gets massively affected. In case of runners and other athletes, there is a lot of impact on the hip joint as they frequently hit their foot against the ground. But, also non-athletes can damage their hip joint either by overusing or underusing it.
In this post, I have listed a few common causes behind the hip pain. I have covered both, the internal and external area of the hip joint. Also, the root cause of your hip pain can be anything from incorrect posture to damage to the cartilage.
Hip Pain Causes
1. Hip Fractures
It is a fracture in the upper part of the thigh bone. Caused mainly due to high impact injuries occurring in sports, road accidents, etc. In young people, this type of injuries can be difficult to detect in the initial stages as the pain is not severe until things start to aggravate. This is one of the reasons why hip fractures should be taken seriously and any sign of discomfort in that region should be checked out by a physiotherapist.
Hip fractures can be lethal for people over 60 years of age as it can cause further damage to the rest of the hip structure. It also makes an elderly person sedentary which further leads to issues like blood clots and muscle wasting. So, this kind of fracture is definitely one of the major causes behind hip pain.
2. Athletic Pubalgia
Also known as sports hernia or hockey hernia, Athletic Pubalgia is a muscle injury occurring in the pubic region of the body. Ice hockey players are frequently plagued by this condition; hence the name “hockey hernia”. Athletes suffering from this condition complain of discomfort and pain in the groin area after their practice sessions or during and after the competition.
Athletic pubalgia causes intense hip pain as a tear in tendons or entrapment of an essential nerve near the hip region are the common reasons behind it. Moreover, hip pain can arise if the injured person performs any activity that puts pressure on his/her abdomen. Even a cough or sneeze can create intense agony.
Bursitis causes inflammation in the small bags in the body which are filled with lubricating synovial fluid. These bags are known as bursae and they are situated in 150 different locations near the area where the muscle meets the joint. It is responsible for creating a smooth and seamless movement between the joints.
So, due to bursitis, the movement between the joints–which is ordinarily effortless– becomes tiresome and gets hindered by the swollen bursae. And, when this condition occurs near the hip region, it causes pain in the outer side of the hip. This condition is known as Trochanteric bursitis.
Osteoarthritis is a result of a long-term joint injury, performing exercises with improper form, wearing misfitted footwear for a long period, etc. Sometimes it can also be inherited from a parent or forefather. People who do physical labor, have altered limbs due to some reason and are obese should be aware of them getting this disease. Hence, they should take preventive measure in consultation with a physiotherapist or a bone doctor.
This is another one of the major causes of hip pain. The pain, in this case, is not very intense and sudden but is very dull and incessant. When the hip joint is made to rub against each other without much lubrication between, the cartilage beneath the joint gets ruptured. This causes inflammation and stiffness in the joint, which further leads to osteoarthritis.
Tendinitis is the injury or infection to the tendons; it occurs near the band of fibrous connective tissue that connects the muscle to bone. The common symptoms are overall discomfort in the affected area, soreness in the muscle and improper movement of the area affected by tendinitis. These symptoms are prevalent in people who perform repetitive tasks using the same muscle groups for a prolonged period.
Hip Pain Treatments
1. Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy was used by the United States army doctors to comfort soldiers who were going through mental trauma during World War 1. The patients were made to indulge in activities like toy making and knitting which helped them regain their senses. In conclusion, occupational therapy is the intervention performed by a certified professional to help the individual continue his/her occupation with a new perspective.
So, if your job or occupation is the main cause behind your hip pain, then you need to make mindful changes to your current routine and the manner in which you are doing things. An occupational therapist can help you get rid of your hip pain and go back to your work with extra vigor and intensity. For instance, if your hips are under constant stress when you work, an orthopedic installment in your shoe or postural correction can ease the stress on them.
Physiotherapy can be an effective way of dealing and managing hip pain. A physiotherapist is a trained and certified individual who suggests certain physical exercises based on examination and diagnosis of the problem. The diagnosis is generally done by checking the mobility and strength in the affected area. If a joint or a muscle group is found to be injured or weak, it is strengthened by performing some specific exercises.
Yoga and pilates are two common exercises suggested for people with hip problems. Yoga is great for correcting postural issues in the body. Also, it is quite easy to perform compared to some other exercises like pilates. However, if being overweight is the root cause behind your hip pain, then pilates can help you lose weight and strengthen your core. Generally, an orthopedic or a sports physio deals with cases related to hip pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter medications available in drug stores. These drugs are steroid-free and don’t require a doctor’s prescription to purchase them. NSAIDs main function is to restrain the activity of cyclooxygenase enzymes like prostaglandin which is responsible for inflammation in the body. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are some of the commonly available NSAIDs and are effective in suppressing hip pain.
Along with NSAIDs –which provide quick relief in the short term–, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can also be helpful in putting a halt to hip pain. DMARDs are used in slowing down the progress of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They are a long term solution to hip pain.
4. Steroid Injections
Steroid injections are used to reduce inflammation and pain in the body. This procedure is strictly conducted by a physician. Typically, people suffering from hip arthritis opt for these steroid injections as the pain is unbearable and an immediate respite is needed. Under the guidance of X-rays, they are injected directly into the hip joint.
Moreover, the physician also comes to know for sure that the pain is arising from the hip itself and not from any other source. The pain immediately diminishes if the root cause of the pain is a hip injury or some other hip related issue. Steroid injections are a replacement for the painkillers like NSAIDs and DMARDs.
5. Hip Replacement Surgery
This is a final solution for your hip pain if nothing of the above methods work. This is what orthopedic surgeons suggest to their patients when the condition of their hip becomes impossible to repair. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the first step would be to go for an evaluation from a surgeon.
There are plenty of positives in going for hip replacement surgery. Your quality of life can improve considerably since you no longer will have to worry about the nagging pain that comes up every time you bend to tie your shoelace or get up after being seated for a long time. As you already know, the hip is a ball and socket joint. This surgery prevents the friction created from one bone coming in contact with another.
Any delay in treatment will make it much harder to recover from your hip problem and you will have to settle for a hip replacement surgery. These surgeries are expensive. Also, you need to be the right candidate for the surgery. For instance, surgery performed without proper evaluation causes complications like infections, blood clots, etc.
The intention of this post is to make your aware of what might be causing the hip pain. And, also relieve your stress by letting you know how easy it is to treat your problem. So, if you’re thinking, “Maybe I should get my hip checked by a doctor,” please do!