Hip pain can severely impede your ability to live life as you wish. There are several potential reasons why unexplainable symptoms may originate in this joint. Doctors look for clues regarding underlying conditions in the location and type of pain that has occurred. When a problem develops within the hip joint, uncomfortable manifestation may occur in the outer area of the hip or buttock, or in the upper thigh. The sensations that occur generally coincide with overstimulation of nerve endings that travel through the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the pelvic region.
Causes of Hip Pain
Sprains and Strains
A sprain or strain may affect the hip joint and surrounding structures just as this type of injury might affect any other part of the body. A sprain develops when the ligaments surrounding the joint suffer a tear or severe stretch. Strains occur in the muscles or tendons that support a joint. In either situation, comfort may be restored with minimal intervention. Rest and hot or cold therapy are usually recommended as the first line of care. Healing may occur more efficiently with the assistance of physical therapy, acupuncture, or another modality within physical medicine.
Around the outside rim of the socket that holds the hip joint is a band of cartilage called the labrum. This semi-rigid ring cushions the hip joint and is also integral to the stability of the top of the thighbone within the hip socket. A tear within the fibrous cartilage of the hip joint may present symptoms such as localized pain in the hip or groin area. A catching sensation, or joint-locking may occur and, in many cases, range of motion will become limited.
Labral tears create a risk for osteoarthritis within the hip joint. Treatment is vital to the prevention of progressive deterioration. In some cases of a labral tear, surgical repair of the joint is necessary. However, early treatment may involve physical therapy to maximize the range of motion and strengthen the muscles and other structures that support the hip joint.
Osteoarthritis is a common hip condition, primarily affecting older adults. The pain and stiffness that occur with osteoarthritis are related to the degradation of the cartilage that cushions the bones in the hip. The less cartilage there is in the joint, the more friction there will be between bones. Because osteoarthritis can become debilitating, early care is recommended. Physical therapists prescribe specific exercises that strengthen the supporting structures around the declining hip joint in order to minimize excessive wear.
The bones, muscles, and tendons around the hip joint are cushioned by bursae – small, fluid-filled sacs. In some circumstances, these sacs may become inflamed. This inflammation is referred to as bursitis. Indications of bursitis include tenderness to touch, swelling around the joint, and a sensation of stiffness or achiness. Repetitive motion is one of the primary factors related to this condition. Therefore, rest and conservative rehabilitative care is typically successful in restoring comfort and range of motion. The objective of physical medicine in the treatment of bursitis is to eliminate painful symptoms and to decrease the risk of recurrence.
Joints are points at which two or more bones meet. A dislocation is described as the forceful interference of normal bone positioning at the joint. There is no mistaking the event of a dislocation. Pain and deformity are generally obvious, and the joint involved in the dislocation becomes temporarily immobile. Immediate medical attention is necessary to correct joint dislocation. Follow up care after a dislocation has been corrected may involve physical therapy to rehabilitate the injured structure through prescribed strengthening and stretching exercise.
Hip pain that occurs suddenly or is related to a fall should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Chronic hip pain, symptoms that linger for several weeks, also need to be treated. When intervention is sought early, there is a greater likelihood of avoiding accelerated degeneration of the hip joint.
Advanced Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation provides multidimensional care that pulls from various therapeutic modalities, such as physical therapy and acupuncture. Contact one of our New Jersey offices for more information on how we can help you manage hip pain.