What Is Causing My Hip Pain? — RecoverFit
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What Is Causing My Hip Pain?

What Is Causing My Hip Pain?

If your hip pain is persistent or is accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of control of your bladder or bowel, numbness & weakness in your legs, fever, redness, or warmth, or you have lost a significant amount of weight in the last 6 weeks and you’re having night sweats that are unexplained, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as these may be signs of a more serious condition. You should always consult a health care professional for assessment and management - this is intended as general advice and information. 

There are many possible causes of hip pain, and the appropriate treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Some common causes of hip pain along with a brief outline of their symptoms and treatments:

Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a naturally occurring degeneration of the cartilage in the hip joint to wear down over time. Symptoms may include pain in the hip joint, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Treatment should always start with physiotherapy and strengthening to maintain range of motion and function, heat therapy can help to provide relief, it may also include pain management with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and, in more advanced cases, joint replacement surgery.

Bursitis: Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that are interwoven through the structures of the hip complex and help to reduce friction as the structures slide over and around each other. Symptoms may include pain on the outside of the hip, tenderness, and you may notice swelling on one side of the hip compared to the other. Treatment may include rest, compression ice, NSAIDs, and physiotherapy.

Tendinopathy: Tendinopathy is an umbrella term used to describe any pathology or disorder of a tendon, including Tendinitis and Tendinosis that attach muscles to bones. In the hip, tendons that can be affected may include, the iliotibial (IT) band, hip flexors, or gluteus medius. Symptoms may include pain in the hip or groin, stiffness, and weakness. Treatment may include rest, compression, ice, strengthening exercises with physiotherapy, NSAIDs.

Hip Labral Tear: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the hip joint, helping to provide stability and cushioning. A hip labral tear is a tear in this cartilage, which can cause pain in the hip joint, clicking or locking of the joint, and limit range of motion. Treatment would include rest from aggravating factors, strengthening and physiotherapy exercises, in some cases, particular injections may be recommended or the last option may include surgery.

Fracture: A hip fracture is a break in the hip bone, often caused by a fall or other trauma. Symptoms may include severe pain, swelling, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg. Treatment may include surgery to repair or replace the damaged bone, followed by rest, optimal loading during the repair process guided by physiotherapy, and pain management.

Hip Impingement: Hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), occurs when there is abnormal contact between the bones in the hip joint of which there are 2 main types, both are self limiting causing pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Treatment may include resting from aggravating movements, strengthening and range of motion exercises guided by physiotherapy and may ultimately lead to surgical intervention depending on the level of limitations.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a congenital condition in which the hip joint does not develop properly. This is usually found when younger, but minimal changes may be diagnosed later in life or when we take up activities that require us to access new ranges of movement. This can cause pain, stiffness, and instability in the hip joint. Treatment may include physiotherapy and in some cases, surgery.

Lower Back Pain: Lower back pain is a multifaceted condition and can have a large number of contributing factors, most cases of lower back pain are common and no serious pathology is present, resulting from non-specific mechanical causes such as weak, tired or fatigued lower back muscles. However, a more popular example is caused by compression of a lumbar disc on either the spinal cord or a nerve root. The 'common sciatic nerve', which runs from the lower back to the legs, becomes compressed or irritated. This can cause pain in the hip, buttocks, and leg, as well as numbness and tingling. Treatment should always start with appropriate rest, appropriate loading and physiotherapy exercises that can relieve symptoms but importantly that minimise irritation. NSAIDs can be helpful and should be discussed with a Dr. In severe cases an orthopaedic consultant might recommend special injections or surgery - however these treatments are becoming less and less popular now as we know that our body is very resilient given time. 

It's important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of possible causes of hip pain. If you are experiencing hip pain, it's important to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Previous article Hip Labral Tears 101: Quick Tips & Anatomy Advice

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This article has been written by Adey, 
RecoverFit Physiotherapist.

Adey Saunderson 


Having worked in professional sport for over 10 years, which included the Rugby Premership and The English Football League, Adey has a wealth of experience with dealing with injury and rehabilitation in the sports world. His desire, commitment, people skills and knowledge are why he has a great reputation in the clubs and teams he has been involved with. Alongside working for RecoverFit, Adey also works in the military as a physiotherapist. 

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in these articles is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. The advice and tips shared in these articles are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in these articles. The author and publisher of this blog are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any suggestions, recommendations, or procedures described in these articles.