The hip is one of the largest joints in the body. It is responsible for supporting the weight of the entire body, so hip pain is very common.
Hip pain is thus defined as all discomfort that may appear in or around the hip, including the groin, thigh, or knee. Aging and the use of the joint can affect freedom of movement.
Prognosis of the disease
Generally, hip pain is not very serious, and it is aging and the use of the joint that may be causing it.
However, the hips are very important for maintaining overall mobility, and pain can make all daily activities painful and even difficult. Just getting out of bed, going for a walk, or climbing stairs can be an ordeal. In the most severe cases, even moving or leaning on the affected hip or leg can be very painful. In these cases, it is necessary to go to the specialist, and they will determine the type of treatment, or even if an operation is necessary.
Symptoms of hip pain
Hip pain can not only affect the joint itself, but it can radiate to many related areas, such as the thighs, groin, buttocks…
Some common symptoms of hip problems are:
- Difficulty walking or standing.
- Difficulty or unable to bend or bend at the hips.
- Swelling in the buttocks.
- Pain in the area while sitting or even in bed.
- Sensation of heat in the painful area.
- Pain referred to other areas, such as knee pain.
- Pain that worsens after exercising, running, or taking a walk.
- Decreased range of motion, both in the hips and legs.
- Slight limp.
- Shooting pain on one side of the hip.
- Lumbar pain
- Pain in the buttocks and pelvis.
Medical tests for hip pain
Hip pain can be experienced in different areas around the joint, as mentioned above, so the specific location of the pain is important to help diagnose the cause that is producing it. For example, pain in the hip or groin itself may be due to a problem itself, but if the pain is in the upper thighs or buttocks, it may be due to a soft tissue problem.
To identify where the cause comes from, different studies will be necessary:
- Anamnesis, to rule out the so-called red flags.
- Rule out intra-articular and extra-articular pathologies, as well as pain referred to other neighboring structures (lumbar and sacrum, peripheral nerves, genitourinary system, and gastrointestinal tract).
- Physical examination by the specialist, where he will ask the patient to indicate the location of the pain, also while standing (called Fortin’s Test). In addition, hypersensitivity to palpation will also be analyzed, and if the patient suffers pain when raising the leg, going down the stairs with one leg, staying on the limp…
- Differential diagnosis to rule out injuries in the lumbar region of the spine.
- Various tests, when a specific pathology is suspected.
- If any condition is positive in these tests, an imaging test will be recommended to confirm the specialist’s suspicions.
- When they are intra-articular conditions, an arthroresonance will also be recommended in tendon injuries, an MRI, or ultrasound.
What are the causes of hip pain?
There are several main causes of hip pain:
- Hip fractures.
- Hip osteoarthritis.
- Rupture of the glenoid rim.
- Osteonecrosis of the hip, which occurs when there is an interruption in the blood supply to the bone.
- Infection in the bones or joints in the area.
- Muscle strain in the groin.
- Bursitis, produced by friction between tendons, muscles, and bones.
- Spring hip syndrome.
- Piriformis syndrome, which is often confused with sciatica because it produces pain that radiates down the legs.
- Tendinitis, when the muscles and tendons around the waist become inflamed.
- Osteoporosis, which is characterized by a decrease in bone density.
- Osteoarthritis, associated with the loss of cartilage.
Can it be prevented?
Preventing hip pain will depend on the underlying cause, but it is advisable:
- Maintain ideal and balanced weight according to the age and constitution of the patient.
- Perform hip resistance movements, always without pain.
- Take frequent walks, with periods of rest if necessary.
- Practice swimming and/or cycling without resistance to ensure the movement of the joint.
- Run-on smooth surfaces and better on roads than on concrete.
- Use insoles if the patient has flat feet.
On the other hand, it is recommended to avoid:
- Standing for a long time, without moving.
- Sitting in very low or soft seats or places for a long time.
- Carrying weights excessively.
- Running downhill. Better to do it walking.
Medical treatment for hip pain
The medical treatment depends on the causes or the diagnosis; some orthopedic doctors work in conjunction with a neurologist, nutritionist, rheumatologist, or pain therapist to obtain any additional treatment plan. Taking into account that the treatments depend on the cause, the therapeutic approach is very varied; for example, if there are problems or muscle imbalances, the doctor usually indicates physiotherapy to eliminate any imbalance with specific training.
Even after accidents or other injuries with cartilage damage (osteoarthritis) or bone involvement (fracture), physical therapy can help reduce pain or permanently control it after medical care. If there are metabolic disorders or inflammatory processes, some doctors indicate certain anti-inflammatory drugs; in addition, they indicate the use of ice on the painful part. If these therapeutic measures cannot eliminate the hip pain, infiltration of the affected joint with analgesic medications and corticosteroids is considered.
What is the surgery for hip pain?
If the hip pain becomes too severe, the doctor thinks of a surgical solution, which will vary depending on the diagnosis and the triggering factor. There are countless surgical procedures focused mainly on the analgesia of this ailment; some of them are:
- Coursescopy or bursectomy.
- Hip arthroscopy.
- Periacetabular osteotomy.
- Arthroplasty or joint replacement.
Physiotherapy treatment for hip pain
Like medical treatment, the therapeutic plan from physiotherapy will be designed based on the causes of hip pain. In general terms, mobility and joint width are reduced as a result of this ailment, so the affected patient cannot perform various activities of daily life with complete normality, mainly those that involve the movement of the lower limbs. That is why the main objective of physiotherapy is to provide analgesia and then increase joint width and stability, decrease stiffness, increase muscle strength and coordination according to the characteristics and needs of the patient. For this, the physiotherapist will carry out both active and passive interventions, which may include:
- Education for pain management.
- Postural education.
- Manual therapy.
- Flexibility, strengthening, and joint resistance exercises.
- Functional and balance training.
- Reeducation of gait.
- Physical agents: thermotherapy and cryotherapy.
- Therapeutic ultrasound.
In addition, the physical therapist can educate the patient and provide advice on the use of braces and orthopedic assistive devices (cane, walkers). The physical therapist will also work with the affected patient to create a comprehensive exercise program that you can perform at home, helping you maintain your quality of life beyond physical therapy sessions.
Do not wait to begin the conversation for your mobility issues or hip pain relief. Dr. Munish Lal will assist you in solving your frequent concerns and help you master how to enhance your health for optimal wellness. Right at the heart of Torrance, CA, pain care is just a call away.