Hip Pain Overview
Your hip joint is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body.
Weight-bearing and responsible for everything from walking to sitting upright, our hips help us stride through our lives. With so much daily pressure and activity, many of us experience hip pain at some point in our lives. When hip pain strikes, an accurate diagnosis of your hip is the first step that can help you find the best possible treatment plan.
Hip Pain Treatment Options
Even though your hip joint can withstand considerable motion and life-long wear and tear, all of this activity takes a toll over time.
Broken bones and muscle and tendon strain can lead to hip pain. You may feel hip pain in the joint itself or in the surrounding muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Hip pain treatments can help you not only feel better in your daily life but also help heal whatever is causing your pain in the first place. It’s crucial to seek treatment, too, as some conditions can worsen and damage the hip joint if left untreated. These are the treatments you may consider. Some can be attempted at the same time; all should be done under the guidance of your doctor.
In the acute phases of an injury, sometimes rest is the best medicine. If your hip pain flares up with increased activity, take a few days off to see if that helps. Keep in mind, though, that too much rest can have the opposite effect and actually increase your hip pain.
2. Over-the-counter medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can ease hip pain and inflammation in the joint. They can be especially useful when dealing with mild pain flare-ups. Take these medications as directed by your doctor.
3. Comfort measures
Hot and cold therapy can also provide relief, especially when administered during a resting period or in conjunction with NSAIDs. Heat loosens and relaxes tight muscles, while cold reduces inflammation. You can even alternate these therapies if you experience tightness and swelling in your hip joint.
Exercise is not only great to maintain overall health and wellness, but it can actually help heal your painful hips. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, and walking build strength and help loosen tight hips. Resistance training can help you to better develop the muscles of the hips, lower back, hamstrings, and quads for healing and further injury prevention.
5. Physical therapy
Targeted physical therapy exercises can be effective for everything from healing from hip surgery to loosening up tight connective tissues that are causing pain. A qualified physical therapist will tailor specific exercises to your rehabilitative needs, introducing both stretching and strengthening exercises into your regimen.
6. Joint injections
Hip joint injections are often used before more invasive treatments or surgeries are attempted. A joint injection uses an anesthetic, and a steroid injected directly into your hip joint to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. They can be done in combination with other approaches, like physical therapy.
If your pain doesn’t respond to these measures or stems from a known injury, there are a variety of surgeries that may help with hip pain.
- Core decompression removes dead bone tissue from the hip socket and uses bone stem cells to encourage new, healthy bone growth.
- Osteotomy is a procedure that creates a hip socket that better fits the head of the femur bone.
- Total or partial hip replacement (arthroplasty) may be appropriate when your hip joint has deteriorated and cannot be rehabilitated. It may also be an option if more conservative measures have not been successful.
Hip Pain Symptoms
Hip pain symptoms can range in severity from slightly bothersome to debilitating. Because this joint is utilized every time you move, these symptoms are not something you can easily ignore, especially as they worsen. Common hip pain symptoms include:
- Discomfort in the buttocks, groin, thigh, inside the hip joint, or outside the hip joint
- Difficulty sleeping on the hip
- Limping on one side of the body
- Pain radiating from other areas of the body (back or groin)
- Reduced range of hip motion
- Swelling over the hip
- Tenderness of the hip
- Warmth in the hip joint
You might notice that your hip pain symptoms are worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity. Some people experience more pain when changing position (i.e., moving from sitting to standing) or when climbing stairs.
Hip Pain Diagnosis/Tests
Getting a proper hip pain diagnosis is the first step towards relieving your pain.
While some hip pain causes are easy to figure out (e.g., an injury that causes pain), others require more information. Your diagnosis will start with your doctor taking a complete medical history and physical exam. They’ll figure out when your pain started, when it occurs, and where it is located. They will also assess the mobility of your hip joint. Other diagnostic tests that can help pinpoint the causes of hip pain include:
- Bone scan
- MRI scan
These tests help to give a complete picture of your hip joint and allow us to provide an appropriate diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan to get you back to the things you love.
Your hips consist of three bones: the ilium, the pubis, and the ischium. The ball of the thighbone (the femur) fits neatly into the socket of the acetabulum (the bowl shape that cradles the head of the femur). Your hips consist of three bones: the ilium, the pubis, and the ischium.
The ball of the thighbone (the femur) fits neatly into the socket of the acetabulum (the bowl shape that cradles the head of the femur). Our hips are designed to be stable while still allowing free movement. Even so, the amount of pressure and movement they are responsible for leaves them open to pain. While some of these hip pain causes can be prevented, some are simply due to continued or incorrect use, hereditary factors, aging, or disease. Common hip pain causes (and factors that contribute to it) include:
- Avascular necrosis (bone death due to poor circulation in the hip)
- Hip fractures
- Hip labral tear
- Muscle or tendon strain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
More Hip Pain Facts
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common causes of hip pain, with bursitis following close behind. As we age, women are more likely to receive a total hip replacement than men, with most hip replacements performed between the ages of 60 and 80.
Schedule Your Hip Pain Consultation at the Pain Experts of Arizona Today
The Pain Experts of Arizona are here for you when you are ready to get back to pain-free living! Set up your first consultation today to learn more. Our pain management experts serve patients with hip pain in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and all of Arizona.