Hip pain can be a real pain in the butt
Hip pain can be a real pain in the butt
Hip pain can be excruciating, and unfortunately those large ball-and-socket joints can impact almost everything we do. Sore hips change how we stand, how we sit, how we walk, sleep, and exercise. Because long-term hip pain – or even temporary or occasional pain – can dramatically affect our lives, it’s important to quickly determine its cause and the possible solutions.
Depending on your age, the causes of hip pain can vary widely. Older people may experience ongoing pain caused by osteoarthritis, while younger people and more active people are more likely to have pain from muscle strain or hip impingement (abnormal contact between the ball and the socket of the joint). Finally, weakness or strain in the gluteal muscles can cause pain where they attach to the bony prominence called the greater trochanter. And some hip pain isn’t in the hip at all. Instead, pain can radiate to the hip from pinched nerves or arthritis in the spine, or from dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint where the three bones of the pelvis meet.
Diagnosing your pain
Because there are a number of possible causes of hip pain, it’s important to see your orthopaedic specialist for a consultation, including a comprehensive history and physical exam to narrow down the possible causes of your pain. Your physician may also recommend one or more of the following tests to identify any possible underlying causes:
● X-rays to view your joint alignment
● CT scan to gather more detailed information about soft tissue including muscle or blood vessels
● MRI for a view of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels
● Ultrasound to see your hip in motion
● Blood work to determine if there is an underlying medical issue such as autoimmune conditions or infections.
Conditions that lead to hip pain in adults
To understand why it’s important to address hip pain, it’s helpful to learn what can cause hip pain in the first place. Some of the most common causes include breaks, sprains, strains, or inflamed tendons, but other causes of hip pain may include:
● Bone spurs
● Fibrous dysplasia
● Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
When to see a doctor
It’s never a good idea to ignore hip pain. Considering the wide range of possible causes – some chronic, some temporary, some life-threatening – it’s important to pay close attention to the frequency and intensity of your pain. If your pain is mild, you should rest, use ice and heat, and take over-the-counter pain medications for relief. If the pain doesn’t go away in a few days or is severe, the necessary next step may be orthopaedic treatment. Of course, some situations may warrant immediate medical care. You should head to the emergency room if you:
● Experience severe pain
● Notice swelling or redness
● See signs of infection, such as fever or chills
One of the best courses of action is to prevent hip injury in the first place by addressing potential risk factors including excessive weight, muscle imbalances, and weakness. Obesity increases hip stress even during routine activities and is also associated with accelerated osteoarthritis. Certain sports place higher demands on your hip. By building the appropriate strength, conditioning, and flexibility throughout the body before playing your sport, risk of injuring your hip can be significantly decreased.
If you’re already experiencing hip problems or injuries, you have a number of options for relief depending on the type and severity of your situation:
● Physical therapy
● Pain medication
● Steroid injections
● Hyaluronic acid, or “gel” injections
● Regenerative medicine
Working with a specialized practice like DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Decatur and Hartselle, you can take advantage of the expertise of our 10 providers as part of our multidisciplinary musculoskeletal practice.
Since 1972, DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.