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Hip Pain


Hip Pain

Hip Pain

The hip joint is where the leg connects to the torso. The top part of the thigh bone or femur hinges on a socket known as acetabulum that’s composed of pelvic bones. The hip joint itself can be a diverse source of  hip pain. The enshrouding structure can be a source of pain as well.

Often the source of pain is trauma.  Hip pain  can result from any source of inflammation around the hip area.  Pain redness, swelling and warmth are symptoms of inflammation. These always indicate an underlying problem.

Hip pain  is a commonly experienced condition. Its causes can easily be mixed up. Appropriate treatment requires accurate diagnosis for targeted treatment.

Hip Pain Causes

  • Osteoarthritis: This condition is responsible for most cases of hip pain in patients over 50 years of age. Apart from osteoarthritis, the arthritis bursitis muscle strain can also cause pain. Other pain risk factors include rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis linked to inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and spondylitis.
  • Being the most frequently noted cause of  hip pain,  arthritis can be treated using many different medications. Hip replacement surgery is the ultimate option in case other conventional treatments fail. Some diseases linked to  hip pain,  include:
  • Sickle cell: This condition causes a sickle crises that may cause inflammation in the joint. This swelling will appear with or even without an infection. Other joints may also be involved, apart from the hip joint.
  • Bacteria or viral infections: Infections are a possible cause of hip inflammation. These include Reiter’s syndrome, Lyme disease and infections resulting from food poisoning.
  • A vascular necrosis affecting the femoral head: This condition is likely to appear in patients under corticosteroid medications e.g. taking prednisone for an extended duration. This condition disrupts blood supply to the femoral head. This weakens the head resulting in  hip pain.

    Hip Pain

    Hip Pain

  • Perth’s disease: This is similar to avascular necrosis affecting the femoral head. This occurs mainly in children. Its cause is idiopathic i.e unknown. Males of the ages between 4 and 8 are mostly affected.
  • Fibromyalgia: This is a painful syndrome associated with systematic pain and stiffness. It can result in unnecessary discomfort all over the body. Fibromyalgia manifests itself as  hip pain.  Sleep disorders, spasms and muscle cramps usually accompany this condition. Tenderness in a range of muscle groups covering the entire body and general fatigue may also be experienced.
  • Hernia: Front  hip pain  can arise following a defect in the abdominal wall. A tear or weakness experienced in the region where the muscles of the abdominal wall are consolidated is referred to as a hernia. The location of the hernia determines its name e.g inguinal–  is the most common hernia that is linked to sciatic groin pain.
  • Branches in the nerves may get inflamed, resulting in hip pain. The femoral cutaneous nerve situated in the thigh can become irritated. This condition is referred to as meralgia paresthetica. It is common in individuals donning tight fitting garments, pregnant women and  diabetics. Groin pain nerve irritation is closely linked to this condition.
  • Sciatica: The nerve roots stemming from the spinal cord can get inflamed. This condition is known as sciatica and it can lead to  hip pain.  Several reasons can lead to the inflammation of the sciatica. These include spinal stenosis that results when the lumbar spine suffers osteoarthritis. Also the vertebral column disks of the back can bulge or rupture . The spasms in the muscles supporting the lower back can also lead to spinal stenosis, causing lower back pain.
  • Sciatic nerve irritation moves up the buttock muscles causing buttock and rear  hip pain.  This arises due to sciatic nerve inflammation termed as piriformis syndrome.
  • Trochanteric bursitis is a very common condition causing swelling of the bursa around the outer area of the hip joint.
  • Tendinitis in any of the tendons surrounding the hip joint. Illiotial band IT band tendinitis is the most commonly recorded tendinitis in the hip joint area.
  • When blood flow to a region containing bone is curtailed, the condition is termed as osteonecrosis. The cells die and the bone gradually collapses when insufficient amounts of blood reach it. The hip joint is among the most likely areas to experience osteonecrosis.
  • Referred symptoms, Lumbar pain: Several back and spine conditions can lead to pain around the hip area and buttocks. Pain is most commonly referred to the hip area from sciatica and herniated discs.
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome: This is a term used to denote three distinct problems of the hip. The first occurs due to snapping of the IT band on the outer part of the thigh. The second takes place on the front part of the hip joint due to snapping of the deep hip  flexor. The last results when a snapping sensation caused by cartilage or labrum tears, occur in the area surrounding the hip joint.
  • Muscle Strains: Spasms an pain can originate from muscle strains in the pelvis and hip region. Groin pulls and hamstring strain comprise the most common strains.
  • Stress fracture: These are more commonplace in athletes engaging in high impact sports including long distance runners. Successful treatment involves staying away from the high impact activities.
  • Hip Fracture: These are more prevalent in the elderly suffering from osteoporosis. Treatment usually involves surgery to replace broken areas or repairs using metal plates and screws.

Tips on Relieving Hip Pain

  • Ice can be used thrice or more times a day for the first three days. Avoid sleeping off when using the ice to avoid frost bite. Covering your hip using a towel wrapped in ice for 15 minutes is advisable.
  • Avoid standing for extended periods of time. If  unavoidable, select cushioned and soft areas to stand on, and distribute your weight equally on both legs.

    Hip Pain

    Hip Pain

  • Avoid lying on the painful hip when sleeping. Placing a pillow between your legs will help ease off your pain.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that are preferably flat and arch cushioned, especially if you are flat footed. (Orthotics)
  • Losing excess weight is advisable for overweight individuals.
  • Pain killers like Advil, Tylenol and Panadol should help to  relieve the pain.
  • Avoid running especially downhill, swimming and cycling are excellent exercise options.
  • Cut down on the amount of exercise you perform, Rather walk or run on smooth surfaces like tracks not cement.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Avoid working in a stooping position.
  • Repetitive bending especially at the hip should be avoided.
  • Hip pads can be helpful for contact sports like hockey and rugby. Streamlined designs worn in undergarments are more effective.
  • Activities necessitating you to spread your legs widely should be avoided.
  • Information that can help you to prevent osteoporosis should be sought and implemented early.

Treatments for Hip Pain

Some conditions will require special tests for correct diagnosis and right treatment plans. The treatment will depend solely on the nature and severity of the problem. A clear comprehension of the symptoms is thus necessary.

  • Resting is the most important part of  hip pain treatment. This allows the joint inflammation to diminish. A cane or crutches helps to ease off your weight from the joint, especially in severe cases. Sometimes, rest is all that is required to treat the pain.
  • Stretching: The tendons and muscles around the hip joint should be stretched. These include the hamstrings and the quadriceps. Establishing a regular stretching routine will aid with some hip pain causes.
  • Physical therapy: The majority of orthopedic conditions will benefit from physical therapy. Different techniques are employed by physical therapists to increase strength improve mobility and restore the patient’s to their former physical capabilities.
  • Anti-Inflammatory-Medications: These medications are prescribed to target hip pain emanating from bursitis tendinitis and arthritis. The NSAIDS Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory-Medications are among the most commonly prescribed.
  • Ice and Heat Treatments: Generally the heat pads are used after ice treatment, The ice pack  treatment should be used for the first three days.
  • For osteonecrosis, hip replacement surgery may be required. Hip replacement is necessary for  hip pain  emanating from severe arthritis and hip fractures.
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