HomeOrtho CareHip Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Hip Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

In today’s fast-paced world, we are so busy going about our lives that we forget to take care of our biggest asset – our body. We put our body through adverse conditions, such as prolonged sitting, that leads to pain in the hip joint. The hip joint is the body’s largest ball and socket joint that fits together in a way that allows for smooth movement.

What is Hip Pain?

Hip pain is the term used for pain felt in or around the hip joint. The physical discomfort varies from mild to severe. The pain can also be felt in the groin or thigh area. The most common causes are lying on one side for prolonged periods, overuse, sitting in an awkward position, sprains, or strains. It can also be caused because of exercising too much at once.

What are the Symptoms of Hip Pain?

Hip problems can cause pain. It is a common concern for many individuals, mainly as we get older and lead an active lifestyle. Some symptoms are:

  • Groin pain: Usually, this pain is located between the hip and the knee.
  • Limping: It is a form of walking that favors the use of one leg over the other.
  • Stiffness: You may find it difficult to bend down or pick up something from the ground.
  • Swelling: It can occur internally or visible outside . If it becomes unbearable, immediately contact your doctor.
  • Tenderness of the hip region.
  • Difficulty sleeping on the hip.
  • Loss of motion of the hip.

Depending on the cause of pain, the symptoms may vary in intensity, from mild to severe. Hip pain can lead to disability. But by visiting a doctor and taking the prescribed medications, hip pain can be treated .

Common causes related symptoms of hip pain include:
SymptomsPotential cause
Swelling, bruising or pain after repetitive or intense exerciseStrain or sprain
Pain worse while walking and stiffness after moving over 45 years of ageOsteoarthritis
Stiffness and pain worse after not moving (for instance, while waking up in the morning)Rheumatoid arthritis
Swollen, hot, hip and a high temperature or feeling shivery and hotJoint infection (septic arthritis)
Severe pain and not able to walk after an injury or fallHip fracture

When to See a Doctor?

If the hip pain lasts longer than a few days, even after taking painkillers, contact your doctor. They can find the cause of the pain and come up with a plan to manage it.

However, contact your doctor immediately if your hip is bleeding, you can see exposed bone or muscle, you hear a popping noise, or you cannot bear your body’s weight.

You should see your doctor right away if:

  • Your hip appears deformed.
  • You are unable to move or bear the pain on the affected leg.
  • The pain is getting worse.
  • You have difficulties performing your daily activities.
  • Your hip joint seems deformed.
  • You have been losing weight.
  • You see redness in the area of the joint

These may be signs of serious conditions, including arthritis (a joint infection).

How Can You Prevent It?

Hip pain can be prevented by safe and healthy exercises, a good diet, and healthy weight management. Here are some ways:

  • Move the hip joint with gentle stretches to help prevent pain caused by overuse.
  • For those working at a desk job, keep changing your position in the chair, take walking and stretching breaks, and stand up in between while working.
  • Do not ignore minor injuries.
  • Keep your body weight under control because excess weight puts pressure on the joints.
  • Rest between exercises and do not overdo them.
  • Consume a healthy diet.
  • Wear appropriate shoes to reduce the stress on your feet.

What if Hip Pain is Left Untreated?

If pain is ignored and left untreated, it can lead to more severe problems.

Some complications caused are:

  • Arthritis: It is  inflammation of joints. It can affect one or multiple joints. It can lead to pain and stiffness that can worsen with age.
  • Osteoarthritis: Degeneration of cartilage causes osteoarthritis. This makes the cartilage split and becomes brittle. In some cases, pieces of cartilage break off in the hip joint.
  • Bursitis: Bursae are sacks of liquid found between tissues such as bones, muscles, and tendons. When bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain. It is caused due to repetitive activities that overwork and irritate the hip joint.
  • Tendinitis: It is inflammation or irritation of tendons. It is caused by overuse of tendons.
  • Avascular necrosis happens when the blood flow to the hip bone slows, and the bone tissues die. It is caused by hip fracture and dislocation.

What are the Possible Treatments?

In certain cases, hip pain is nothing more than just a short-term annoyance, which in other cases, it can be a symptom of a serious health issue. If you have moderate hip pain, you can avoid doing things that require you to bend, avoid sleeping on the painful side of your hip, treat the painful area with heat and cold packs, and gently stretch your body.

While the treatment of your hip pain depends on the diagnosis made by your healthcare professional, it is common for a patient’s therapy plan to involve a combination of self-care, medication, physical therapy, and, less commonly, surgery.

If these measures do not help ease your hip pain, contact your doctor. Once the doctor finds the exact cause of your hip pain, they can recommend a specific treatment plan. The doctor will run a physical examination of your hip to check for redness, soreness, and warmth that are signs of injury or infection. They may also run a few laboratory tests such as blood tests, urine tests, MRIs, CT scans, etc.

For injuries, treatment typically involves bed rest and medications to relieve swelling and pain.

Hip fractures, malformation, and certain injuries may require surgical intervention to repair or replace the hip.

They may recommend the following treatments too:

  • Physiotherapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Steroid injections.

Conclusion

Hip pain is a disabling condition with many potential causes. It can be treated. However, it can become a serious issue if left untreated. We should live a healthy life, exercise regularly, and eat a balanced diet to avoid such conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the fastest way to relieve hip pain?

The fastest way to relieve mild hip pain is by holding ice over the area for 15 minutes a few times a day. You may also try heat therapy to the area. For moderate to intense pain, consider consulting your doctor.

What causes hip pain in women?

The most common cause of chronic hip pain in women is arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. However, there could be other reasons as well.

Does walking help in hip pain?

Walking is an effective way to relieve hip pain, stiffness, and swelling.

What helps hip pain while sleeping?

Placing a wedge-shaped pillow under your hip to provide cushioning can help. If you don’t have a wedge-shaped pillow, you can roll your blanket or pillow in a wedge shape. A pillow between your knees also helps reduce stress on the hips while sleeping.

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