What is Hip Pain?
The hip is a ball and socket joint located where the leg meets the pelvis and serves to provide support for the body during movement. The hip is one of the largest joints on the body, and sees a increased amount of wear and tear due to the high frequency of usage.
The bones of the hip are separated by a thin layer of cushioning, called cartilage, which serves to prevent the bones from grinding into one another during movement. When regularly used, cartilage can become worn down and offer less protection to the bones. If bone is grinding against bone during movement of the hip, painful spots of inflammation can occur.
The hip also consists of muscles and tendons which can become damaged with frequent use, leading to feelings of pain for a patient. Patients may also be experiencing pain if direct damage has occurred to the hip, such as if the bones are fractured from a fall or impact.
What are the causes of Hip Pain?
Hip pain has numerous causes, with the largest cause of pain being inflammation due to arthritic damage. Arthritic damage occurs when cartilage has been worn away, leaving the bones touching during movement. This can damage the surface of bones, leading to jagged edges which can damage surrounding tissues. Arthritic damage can also produce inflammation in the hip, which can cause pain.
Other common causes of pain include physical damage to the bones of the hip, a common condition in the elderly. Damage may also be sustained to the muscles and tendons that support the hip, resulting in inflammation, plan, and a reduction in the functional capability of the hip. Both bursitis and tendinitis can occur in the hip. In very rare cases, pain may be the result of cancer being present with tumors forming in the bones of the hip.
What are the symptoms of Hip Pain?
The symptoms experience will vary in severity and location based on what the root cause of pain is. Pain may be felt in the inside or the outside of the hip joint, in the thigh, in the groin, or in the buttocks. It is possible for pain to be felt in the hip as a result of other conditions present in the body. It is common for pain that is felt in the hip to worsen in severity during periods of activity, or with certain movements. Patients may be forced to change their walking gait to adapt to symptomatic pains of the hip.
How is Hip Pain diagnosed?
For specific causes of pain, such as injury to the hip, diagnosis can be relatively straightforward. Other, diagnosis of hip pain is accomplished through a careful examination of the patient, the symptoms that are present, and a summary of the events leading to the presence of symptoms. This will allow for the creation of a list of potential causes, which the physician will begin to narrow down through diagnostic testing.
Imaging techniques such as X-ray and MRI can reveal physical damage that has occurred, or damage that has occurred to the tissue. MRI’s can also reveal the presence of inflammation, such as in cases where pain is likely due to the effects of arthritis.
What are the treatment options for Hip Pain?
The treatments available to patients will be based on what the root cause of pain is. For pain resulting from muscular strain or arthritis, treatment may consist of rest and over the counter pain medication. Patients with moderate to severe symptoms may have to attend physical therapy sessions. In rare cases, surgery may be required to correct the cause of pain.