- Inside of the hip joint
- Outside of the hip joint
Your treatment will vary by cause. Some common causes of hip pain include:
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation. People who suffer from arthritis also may feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip.
Fractures of the hip are a common problem in elderly people. With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to fracture as a result of a fall.
Inflammation of small, fluid filled sacs (called bursae) that protect muscles and tendons is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint.
Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons. It's usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse.
Muscle or tendon strain
Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When these structures become inflamed from overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from functioning normally.
Your hip joint is designed for both mobility and stability. The hip joint allows your entire lower extremity to move in three planes of motion:
- forward and backward
- side to side
- rotating right and left
Your hip joint provides vital shock absorption to the torso and upper body as well as stability during standing and other weight-bearing activities.
Your hip is comprised of four main components:
- Hip anatomy
The hip is actually a ball and socket joint, uniting two separate bones, the femur (thigh bone) with the pelvis. The pelvis features two cup-shaded depressions called the acetabulum, one on either side of the body. The femur is the longest bone in the body and connects to the pelvis at the hip joint. The head of the femur, shaped like a ball, fits tightly into the acetabulum, forming the ball and socket joint of the hip, allowing the leg to move forward and backward, side to side, and rotate
The acetabulum is lined with cartilage, which cushions the bones during weightbearing activities and allows the joint to rotate smoothly and freely in all planes of
The complex system of ligaments that connect the femur to the pelvis are essential for stability, keeping the hip from moving outside of its normal planes of movement.
The muscles of the hip joint have dual responsibilities working together to provide the power for the hip to move in all directions, as well as to stabilize the entire lower extremity during standing, walking, or other weight-bearing activities.
How does arthritis affect your hip?
Arthritis of the hip is a disease that wears away the cartilage between the ball and socket of the hip joint. This causes those two bones to rub against each other and make the joint become uneven and worn. The result for you is hip pain, stiffness and instability. In some cases, your leg motion may even be greatly restricted.
Labral Tear and Stress Fracture of the Hip
Labral tears and stress fractures are two of the most common injuries to the hip. Here's where you'll learn more about how they happen and what you can do about them.
Hip Labral tear
The function of the labrum is to add stability and cushioning to the hip joint. It's the cartilage found around the bony rim of the hip socket, acetabulum. Degenerative labral tears can be associated with arthritis or occur from years of repetitive minor injuries to the hip. Oftentimes, those playing sports may tear their labrum by causing rapid hip motion through sudden stops and turns on the field. A labral tear causes pain in the groin area, or a “catching” sensation within the joint, but usually doesn't result in pain during normal daily activities.
If you believe you have a labral tear, see your physician immediately for individualized treatment.
Treatment Options for a Hip Labral Repair:
In most cases labral tears require surgical repair. However, your orthopaedic surgeon may initially prescribe physical therapy and activity modifications along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and ketoprofen.
Arthroscopic surgery may be necessary to repair the torn labrum if symptoms persist and you cannot continue your desired physical activities. This arthroscopic surgery is done on an outpatient basis. Full recovery usually occurs in eight to 12 weeks.
Stress Fractures of the Hip
The femur is the large bone in the thigh. The ball-shaped head of this bone fits into the socket, acetabulum, of the pelvis. When a stress fracture occurs in the hip, it usually involves the femoral neck, or the short section of bone that connects the femoral head to the main shaft of bone.
Stress fractures are actually hairline cracks in the bone that can grow larger over time if they are not treated properly. Usually, bones can adapt to repetitive stress; however, extreme stress that is repeated too often can overwhelm the bone's ability to adapt. This is especially true with repetitive, strenuous exercise, such as running.
A stress fracture is more likely to occur in runners after an increase in the distance, amount of training and intensity of their running program. Running on hard surfaces like concrete sidewalks or asphalt may also cause additional stress. Stress fractures of the hip are related to amount of exercise and how fast you increase your exercise program.
Stress fractures of the hip are marked by pain in the front of the groin while standing or moving. Rest usually makes the pain go away and strenuous exercise, such as running or climbing stairs, may be very painful. If you believe you have a stress fracture in your hip, please contact your physician immediately for individualized treatment.
Treatment of Stress Fractures of the hip include:
Initial treatment of a hip stress fracture may include X-rays, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a bone scan to further evaluate your condition. Most orthopaedic surgeons recommend non-surgical treatments such as staying off the affected leg, use of crutches and resting the hip for four to six weeks.
In some patients with a hip stress fracture, MRIs and other imaging tests sometimes show an unstable fracture that needs to be surgically repaired. In most surgical cases, metal screws are inserted through the femoral neck to hold the fractured bones in place while the fracture heals.
To help you improve hip motion and strength during your hospital stay, surgery is followed by physical therapy treatments. The use of crutches or a walker will also be required. After you return home from the hospital, your orthopaedic surgeon may have you continue to work with a physical therapist to help you maximize your hip strength, restore a normal walking pattern and help you return to your activities without causing further injury. If you are a runner remember to increase your mileage slowly and always listen to your body as you resume training.