Hip pain is very common, but it tends to be most prevalent in the young (up to age 15) and those over the age of 45.
Hip pain can occur in part or all of the hip area (in and around the hip from the buttocks to the upper thigh). It can be the result of injury or trauma. It can also result from damage to the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint, causing problems with tendons, ligaments or muscles. In addition to pain, other symptoms of injury may include swelling, redness or warmth of the area.
While the joint itself can be the source of hip pain, that pain may also be a result of other conditions in the surrounding area, such as sciatica or a hernia. It might even stem from issues with the lower back or even the knees. Hip pain from other causes or conditions is called referred pain.
To better determine the dynamics of hip pain, it helps to have an understanding of hip anatomy. The hip is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body. It is one of the biggest and most crucial weight-bearing joints. The hip joint is made up of two bones: the pelvis and the femur (the thighbone). The rounded end of the femur (or femoral head) is called the “ball.” The concave portion (also called the acetabulum) is what makes up the “socket.” The hip cartilage, which prevents friction, allows for smooth gliding of the hip bone in its socket.
A wide range of movement is possible because of hip anatomy and the way parts of the hip fit together. Examples of movement generated by the hip joint are walking, running and climbing. While the hip is a remarkable and durable part of the anatomy, it can break down from injury, age and/or use, resulting in damage and painful conditions.
Causes of Hip Pain
Hip pain may be caused by a variety of conditions or injuries. Some causes, such as arthritis, are more common than others. Below is a list of additional common causes:
- Pinched nerves
- Sprains or strains (hamstring, hip flexor, groin)
- Trauma, such as hip fractures
Causes that are less common may include:
- Avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue)
Diagnosis of Hip Pain
Since hips hurt for a variety of reasons, diagnosis may be complicated. An analysis of hip pain begins with a medical history and a pain-specific Q&A that reviews type of pain, severity of pain and the time of day pain strikes. There may also be an examination of the joint in motion, by walking. The physician might compare the injured side of the hip with the non-injured side. In addition, he or she may order urine, blood or joint fluid tests.
Imaging tests, which provide a detailed look at bones and tissues, may also be recommended. These tests can include:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
At the Center for Pain Management, we address hip pain with a variety of treatments, including medications, injections and/or physical therapy/exercises. We also provide pain management post-surgery.