The hip joint is a not-so-common place for injuries or other forms of trauma that may result in hip pain. The hip joint comprises of the head of the femur that fits in the hip socket called the acetabulum. The most common cause of hip pain are injuries along the ball and socket of the hip joint, but other conditions affecting the surrounding structures may also cause pan in the hips.
Causes of Hip Pain
Among all injures, the main root cause of pain is the presence of inflammation leading to other cardinal signs such as difficulty of movement, swelling, heat and redness. Despite being one of the most indestructible joints in the body, the hip joint may also suffer from wear and tear from degenerative diseases, direct physical trauma and other conditions leading to hip pain. Conditions that cause hip pain involving the hip joint as well as other structures include:
- Fracture of the hip bone
When the hip bones break as a result of direct trauma or on-going stress fracture, it leads to the disruption in the blood flow to the rest of the hip bones. This may also result in significant inflammation causing pain. Fractures along the hips are commonly seen in elderly females as a result of stress fracture from osteoporosis.
Degenerative conditions of the hip joints such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may also lead to hip pain. Arthritis involves the inflammation of the joints as a result of the degeneration of the cartilage that cushions the bones. People with arthritis in the hip usually experience continuous and moderate to severe pain along their hips.
Muscle and tendon strains usually result from the overuse of the muscles and tendons during high-impact activities. When these structures are burdened, they can lead to spasms along the hip area causing hip pain.
When the tendons that attach to the hip bones are inflamed, it may result in pain that seem to arise from the hip bone.
Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis is the presence of poor circulation in the bones that may cause tissue necrosis or death. This condition usually arises from the use of corticosteroids, fractures and other types of trauma to the hips. When cell death occurs, lactic acidosis may develop causing nerve irritation leading to hip pain.
Tumors along the hips or inside the hip bone can cause compression of the nerves along the area leading to hip pain.
All these causes may possibly lead to hip pain accompanied by radiating pain to the thighs, groin and buttocks.
Treatments for Hip Pain
Treatment modalities differ according to the root cause of the pain. The doctor may perform various tests to confirm or ascertain the diagnosis for proper treatments.
For milder conditions such as the presence of muscle and tendon strains, bursitis and tendonitis, hip pain can be managed using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warm packs over the hips and limitation of active range of motion exercises of the hip joint followed by preventive and rehabilitative exercises. Exercises that are best for hip pain include swimming, and stretching.
Arthritis, fractures, osteonecrosis and cancer usually require more aggressive treatments such as surgery to correct the problem or to preserve the hip joint. For more severe conditions wherein the hip joint misaligns or becomes dysfunctional, a total hip replacement may be done.
Simple hip pain can be managed at home; however, it is still advised to visit a health care provider such as a chiropractor to evaluate the real condition for a more specific treatment plan.