The largest ball and socket joint in the body is the hip joint. If this joint is in tip-top working condition, it allows smooth leg movement in varied directions.
What is Hip Pain?
To define hip pain, one needs to understand how the hip joint works. The hip joint stays in place with tendons (muscles that secure it to the bones). Along with the sinewy flesh, the tendons form a sheath around the hip joint to support free movement.
Inside this pod-like covering, a fluid keeps the joint and cartilage lubricated. The cartilage (a firm and flexible tissue – much softer than bones) keeps the bones from rubbing together and reduces the impact caused when movement takes place.
Hip pain is, therefore, any discomfort that results from friction in the hip joint. Discomfort emanating from the inside of the hip or the groin comes from the hip joint. Any discomfort from the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and other soft tissues, manifests itself in pain in the upper thigh, outer buttock, or generally the outside of the hip.
What are The Causes of Hip Pain?
Many people suffering from hip pain started because they pushed themselves too much while exercising. Aside from specific medical conditions that cause hip pain, hip problems are evident by pain in the knees. This type of pain is common and called radiated or referred pain.
Take note of these eight causes of hip pain:
Various types of arthritis may result in pain emanating from the hip. When the flexible tissue in the hip joint – the cartilage – wears away over time (due to age or injury), a condition called osteoarthritis occurs. The cavity between the bones in the joint reduces, and the bone on bone rubbing causes pain. Inflammatory arthritis also results in hip pain. While osteoarthritis gets worse with movement, inflammatory arthritis craves motion for pain relief.
Inside the body are tiny sacs filled with fluid that have a jelly-like texture. These fluid-filled sacs are called bursa, and when they get inflamed, they cause a condition called bursitis. The pain from bursitis manifests on the outside of the thigh, buttocks, and hip.
- Hip Fracture
In older persons, osteoporosis may result in the upper thigh bone breaking. This break is a hip fracture. For younger persons, usually, a high energy activity causes hip fractures. Hip fractures may cause sudden pain in the hip.
- Hip Labral Tear
When the cartilage around the hip socket joint gets torn, it is called a labral tear. Hip pain from labral tears come from prolonged sitting, standing, or walking, a clicking sensation in the hip joint, and if the range of motion in the joint is limited.
- Pinched Nerves
A type of pinched nerve pain comes from a condition called sciatica. This type of nerve pain goes down the sciatic nerve and branches from the lower back to the hips and buttocks, then down each leg. The pain can severely affect the hip joint.
Bone cancer, although rare, can be a cause of hip pain. Commonly, bone cancer affects the pelvis area and the long bones in the arms and legs. The results from the affected areas of a person with bone cancer may cause hip pain.
- Muscle Strain
Athletes and other persons who put a consistent strain on the muscles may experience hip pain. Overuse results in inflammation, and this, in turn, causes the body to experience the associated pain.
The tendon can become inflamed. The inflammation causes pain in the affected area.
What are The Symptoms of Hip Pain?
The causes outlined above carry their related symptoms when it comes to hip pain. Generally, these are the signs that hip pain is present:
- Limping (abnormal gait)
- Limited range of motion in the hips (unable to move them in specific directions)
- Groin pain (pain in the pelvic area)
- Swelling in the hip (unusual size)
- Tenderness in the hip region (hurts when touched)
- Joint pain (pain in the ball and socket joint of the hip)
- Increased difficulty in sleeping on the hip (even without strenuous exercises, there is a pain)
From the list above, the symptoms can be so mild that they are practically unnoticeable, or they can be so severe that surgeries and other medical attention are required.
There is a lot of research available for hip pain causes and treatment, so there are solutions and treatments to the level of discomfort experienced. According to Joint Academy, the location of the hip pain can help determine the best relief methods available. For instance, if you get hip pain after running, exercises to improve flexibility might help.
However, rest, non-strenuous exercises, a medication that combats inflammation and cold compresses, can help. Other relief methods include surgical repairs such as pinning, plates, and screws. A complete hip replacement may be a possible option for severe hip pain.
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