Common causes of hip pain and how they can be treated
Your hip is your body’s largest ball-and-socket joint. It supports the fluid movement of 24 muscles and many nerves, helps you walk smoothly and without pain, and is designed to withstand repeated motion and daily wear and tear.
Despite that, your hip isn’t invincible. When it starts hurting, it’s hard not to notice.
Whenever you use your hip, a cushion made of cartilage prevents friction as the joint rotates in its socket. Over time, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged, muscles or tendons in the hip can be overused, and bones in the hip can break or fracture during a fall or other injury. All of these injuries and more can eventually lead to hip pain.
Common causes of hip pain
If you’re feeling pain in your hip, it may be due to one of these causes:
- Arthritis. The most common causes of hip pain are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, particularly in older adults. Arthritis can lead to hip joint pain, swelling and cartilage damage. People with arthritis in the hip often feel stiffness and have a reduced range of motion in the hip. Their pain also increases over time. Learn more about arthritis of the hip here.
- Hip fracture. The older you get, the weaker and more brittle your bones become. This makes the hip more likely to break during a fall.
- Bursitis. Bursae are sacs of liquid that ease the friction between your bones, muscles and tendons. They can become inflamed as a result of repetitive activities that overwork or irritate your hip joint, causing pain. Learn more about hip bursitis here.
- Tendinitis. Tendons are thick bands of tissue that connect your bones to your muscles. Tendinitis occurs as a result of repetitive stress from overuse, causing them to become inflamed or irritated.
- Muscle or tendon strain. You can strain the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your hips by participating in repetitive activities that put pressure on the hip. This results in inflammation that causes pain and prevents your hip from working normally.
- Hip labral tear. Your labrum cushions your hip joint and helps hold the ball at the top of your thighbone within your socket. Repetitive twisting movements can cause a tear in the labrum. Learn more about hip labral tears here.
- Cancer. Bone tumors can cause pain in your hip as well as other bones in your body.
- Avascular necrosis, or osteonecrosis. This condition occurs when the blood flowing to your hip bone slows down and your bone tissue dies. While this can occur in other bones, it happens most often in the hip. Osteonecrosis can occur when you fracture or dislocate your hip, or when you use high-dose steroids like prednisone for long periods of time.
How Onward Orthopedics treats hip injuries
How you should treat your hip pain depends its cause. If you’re suffering pain caused by a muscle or tendon strain, arthritis or tendinitis, you might find relief using over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol, Motrin or Aleve. You might also talk to your doctor and get a prescription for anti-inflammatory medications like corticosteroids or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs that target the immune system. You could also try resting your joint, using a heating pad, taking a warm bath or shower or icing the area for 15 minutes a few times a day.
If those treatments work, you can continue to treat your joint through physical therapy or by exercising your hip with low- and non-impact exercises like stretching, resistance training and swimming.
If you’re experiencing extreme pain, surgery might be necessary. Onward partners with the best orthopedic surgeons in your area who use proven, minimally invasive techniques to reduce your pain and recovery time. Get the best personalized care when you work with us.
Total hip replacement
A total hip replacement is typically a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon replaces your entire hip joint with an artificial joint, or prosthesis.
A hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon places a small camera inside your joint and uses it to repair the injury. It requires the least amount of incisions and causes less scarring and risk of infection. It also allows for increased accuracy and cost savings.
If you have arthritis and have exhausted all non-surgical treatment options, you might be a candidate for hip resurfacing. During this procedure, the surgeon trims and caps the ball of the femur with a smooth metal cover. It’s less invasive than a total hip replacement, and it allows active adults to resume their active lifestyles faster.
Learn more about treating your hip pain
If you think you may be experiencing one of the above conditions and would like to learn more about possible treatment options, schedule an evaluation with Onward Orthopedics today by submitting an online form or calling one of our friendly Patient Care Managers at 210.880.3823.