Hip pain is common and is a part of many people’s daily lives. However, when your hip pain becomes chronic, it’s time to speak to your doctor and take action. Don’t let hip pain slow you down. In this guide, we will help you determine what is causing your hip pain and discuss the best treatment options for relieving your pain and getting back to your life.
Movements such as bending, running, sitting, walking, and climbing stairs rely heavily on your hip joints. When your hip becomes injured or diseased, the resulting burning hip pain can severely limit your ability to perform daily activities.
Acute Hip Pain vs. Chronic Hip Pain
Sudden, acute hip pain is normal and does not typically last very long. Chronic hip pain, on the other hand, lasts for weeks, months, or even years. In some cases, the painful sensations come and go. Chronic hip pain is defined as constant hip pain following an injury, which persists beyond the reasonable time of expected recovery.
Location of Hip Pain
If you’re experiencing hip pain, pay close attention to the location of the pain. A hip problem can disguise itself as back, groin, thigh, or knee pain. Identifying the exactlocation of your hip pain provides valuable clues about the underlying cause. There are three common locations of hip pain: front, back, and side.
Problems within the hip joint itself tend to result in hip and groin pain. Hip and leg pain is often caused by problems with tendons, ligaments, muscles, and other soft tissues surrounding the hip joint. Sometimes, constant hip pain results from diseases and conditions in other areas of the body, such as the lower back.
Back hip pain is usually caused by a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine. Nerves in the lumbar spine are pinched if there are bone spurs or a herniated disk. If pain on the side of the hip radiates past the knee, it is likely nerve pain. In addition to hip and knee pain, some experience discomfort radiating from back of the leg to the foot.
Right hip pain and left hip pain are typically caused by inflammation or irritation in the area where the iliotibial band brushes against the greater trochanter, the uppermost part of the thigh bone.
Hip Pain Causes
Knowing the underlying cause for your hip problem is essential. Severe hip pain is a common complaint, but it can have different causes. Here are the most common issues that create pain in the hip joint.
Fracture: Hip fractures, often due to blunt trauma from a car crash or falling on a hard surface, are the most common causes of hip joint pain. A broken hip is a serious condition that can be life-threatening when left untreated.
Arthritis: Chronic hip pain in women is typically a result of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, which involves the breakdown of bones and cartilage. Arthritis pain is felt in the groin or in the front of the thigh.
Bursitis and tendonitis: Tendons around the hip can easily become inflamed because of overuse. Iliotibial band syndrome causes tendonitis at the hip joint. Bursitis describes the inflammation and swelling of fluid-filled sacs around the hip.
Hernia: Inguinal and femoral hernias can cause frontal hip bone pain.
Sciatica: This refers to inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which branches from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica typically affects only one side of the body.
Hip Pain Symptoms
The symptoms of hip pain vary based on their root cause and may be mild or severe. Common symptoms associated with hip pain include:
Sudden swelling and tenderness
Hip pain when sitting
Hip pain while walking
Hip pain at night
Hip pain while sleeping
Loss of motion of the hip
Difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg
Hip Pain Diagnosis
An accurate hip pain diagnosis will help your physician provide the best care for your injury.
Medical History and Physical Examination
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and will perform a thorough physical examination to evaluate your gain and range of motion. Physical examination maneuvers—internally and externally rotating the hip—will help your doctor identify underlying conditions.
Your doctor will use an X-ray to view your bone structure, joint space, bone spurs, and joint alignment.
An MRI scan displays bones and soft tissues, which makes it particularly helpful for determining the root cause of extreme hip pain and diagnosing injuries to the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
This noninvasive test produces detailed images of the painful hip joints. CT scans show soft tissues, such as muscles and ligaments, more clearly than an X-ray, so it is more useful for diagnosing hip pain causes.
Hip Pain Treatment
Take the first step toward recovery by scheduling an appointment with your doctor. There are a variety of reasons for hip pain, which each require different remedies. Based on your diagnosis, hip pain treatment options may include:
Immediate Hip Pain Relief
Hip pain caused by overuse or sports injuries can be managed with rest, elevation, and over-the-counter medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen. See your doctor if your hip pain does not subside quickly. In come cases, an injection of cortisone is recommended to reduce inflammation.
To manage hip pain at home, apply an ice pack to the inflamed area. Ice for ten to fifteen minutes at least five times a day to reduce pain and swelling. Remember to rest and elevate your legs while icing.
Ice packs reduce swelling and numb pain for immediate relief from hip pain. ( See Product )
Exercises for Hip Pain
According to a research published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, patients with mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis may avoid replacement surgery by exercising. Hip pain exercises ease pain, reduce the risk of injury, strengthen the muscles, and improve range of motion.
Listed below are several stretching and strengthening exercises to treat and prevent hip pain. Begin gradually, and speak to your doctor or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Seated Fourth Position Hip Stretch
Step 1:Sit on the floor with your knees bent.
Step 2:Position your right leg in front of you and your left leg behind you.
Step 3:Tighten your core and slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
Step 4:Hold the position for 10 seconds, then press your left hip back to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
Step 5:Complete 6 to 8 repetitions.
Supine Adductor Stretch with Strap
Step 1:Lie on the floor with your knees bent, then place a stretching strap around your right foot.
Step 2:Grab the other end of the strap with your hands.
Step 3:Slowly straighten your right leg until you feel a stretch. Keep your shoulders and hips flat on the floor throughout the movement.
Step 4:Hold the position for 6 to 8 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Step 5:Perform 6 to 8 repetitions.
Step 1:Hold on to a chair or table for balance.
Step 2:Tighten your abs, then slowly move your left leg backward. Keep your knee straight.
Step 3:Hold the position for 5 seconds, then lower your left leg. Switch sides.
Step 4:Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Step 1:Hold on to a chair or wall for support.
Step 2:March in place, alternating raising each knee toward your chest.
Step 3:Perform 5 to 10 repetitions.
Step 1:Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Step 2:Slowly lift your lower back and pelvis off the floor.
Step 3:Hold the position for 5 seconds, then lower slowly.
Step 4:Repeat 5 to 10 times, and perform the exercise 2 to 3 times each day.
Constant hip pain reduces your quality of life and keeps you from the activities you love. Using a hip support prevents issues such as back, hip, and groin pain. Hip supports are especially important during strenuous activities that involve twisting, bending, or lifting.
Protect your hips by wearing a hip support, which reduces stress on your hips. A hip brace provides support and stability, relieves hip and lower back pain, improves mobility, and prevents symptoms from returning. Choose a brace that uses compression therapy to support the thigh area, groin area, and hip flexor.
Wearing a hip support prevents dangerous movement that can cause further damage to your fragile hip. ( See Product )
Hip Replacement Surgery
When exercises and other at-home treatments for hip pain do not relieve discomfort, consider surgery to replace the joint. It’s a safe procedure in which the injured hip is removed and replaced with a prosthesis with ceramic, metal, or plastic components.
Only consider total joint replacement when irreparable joint damage causes constant chronic pain and interferes with function. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the procedure, and be sure to discuss expectations for postoperative pain after a hip replacement.
Giving your hip time to heal is essential to a healthy recovery. Only return to activities when the pain has subsided. If you suddenly feel an intense hip pain when walking, contact your doctor immediately.
Whether caused by muscle inflammation to cartilage breakdown, a painful hip can stop you in your tracks. Relieve constant hip pain by wearing a quality hip support and performing gentle exercises, and maintain communication with your doctor to prevent hip from recurring.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager and at ViveHealth.com. With vast product knowledge and understanding of individual needs, she aims to share valuable information on making smart buying choices, overcoming obstacles and overall improving the quality of life for others. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle.
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