Hip Pain

The hip joint can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint — the body’s largest — fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.

Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket.Despite its durability, the hip joint isn’t indestructible. 

With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. Bones in the hip can break during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain.If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of what might be causing your discomfort and how to get hip pain relief.

Causes of Hip Pain

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis) – the most common causes of hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. The pain gradually gets worse. People with arthritis also feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip.

Hip Fractures -With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to break during a fall.

Bursitis – Bursae are sacs of liquid found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. They ease the friction from these tissues rubbing together. When bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain. Inflammation of bursae is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint.

Tendonitis – Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons. It’s usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse.

Muscle or tendon Strain – Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When they become inflamed due to overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from working normally.

Labral tear – This is a rip in the ring of cartilage (called the labrum) that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. Along with cushioning your hip joint, your labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket. Athletes and people who perform repetitive twisting movements are at higher risk of developing this problem.

Cancers – avascular necrosis (also called osteonecrosis) –this condition happens when blood flow to the hip bone slows and the bone tissue dies. Although it can affect other bones, avascular necrosis most often happens in the hip. It can be caused by a hip fracture or dislocation, or from the long-term use of high-dose steroids (such as prednisone), among other causes.

Exercises to help

Hip flexion (strengthening)

Hold onto a work surface and march on the spot to bring your knees up towards your chest alternately. Don’t bring your thigh above 90 degrees.

Hip extension (strengthening)

Move your leg backwards, keeping your knee straight. Clench your buttock tightly and hold for five seconds. Don’t lean forwards. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

Hip abduction (strengthening)

Lift your leg sideways, being careful not to rotate the leg outwards. Hold for five seconds and bring it back slowly, keeping your body straight throughout. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

Hip abduction (strengthening)

Lift your leg sideways, being careful not to rotate the leg outwards. Hold for five seconds and bring it back slowly, keeping your body straight throughout. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

Mini squat (strengthening)

Squat down until your knees are above your toes. Hold for a count of five if possible. Hold on to a work surface for support if you need to.

Short arc quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Roll up a towel and place it under your knee. Keep the back of your thigh on the towel and straighten your knee to raise your foot off the floor. Hold for five seconds and then lower slowly.

Quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Pull your toes and ankles towards you, while keeping your leg straight and pushing your knee firmly against the floor. You should feel the tightness in the front of your leg. Hold for five seconds and relax. This exercise can be done from a sitting position as well if you find this more comfortable.

Stomach exercise (strengthening/ stabilising)

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Put your hands under the small of your back and pull your belly button down towards the floor. Hold for 20.

Bridging

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower down slowly.

Knee lift (stretch)

Lie on your back. Pull each knee to your chest in turn, keeping the other leg straight. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times. If this is difficult, try sliding your heel along the floor towards your bottom to begin with, and when this feels comfortable try lifting your knee.

External hip rotation (stretch)

Site you your knees bent and feet together. Press your knees down towards the floor using your hands as needed. Alternatively, lie on your back and part your knees, keeping your feet together. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times.

Treatment

If your hip pain doesn’t improve with simple medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, and a mixture of rest and gentle exercises, you should see your Osteopath for further advice.

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