Hip pain and discomfort might be caused by a minor strain or could be due to a chronic condition. Whatever the cause, hip pain can impact your quality of life and keep you from doing the activities you love. To effectively treat your hip pain, you’ll want to know its causes. From there, you can work out how to address the pain and decide if it’s necessary to see a doctor.
This guide to causes and hip pain solutions can help you determine how to get the relief you need.
Causes and Symptoms of Hip Pain
Hip pain can result from the following conditions and causes:
Different kinds of arthritis can cause hip pain. For example, osteoarthritis, common in older adults, is the result of wear and tear. Inflammatory arthritis can affect people of any age and cause a wide range of symptoms, including hip pain.
The symptoms of arthritis affecting the hips can vary. Some people experience a dull aching pain that spreads to other areas of the body, such as the groin, buttocks or thighs. Other people may experience severe pain that limits their range of motion and makes it difficult to walk.
Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs located in various areas of the body, including the hip. Their job is to reduce friction, but sometimes these sacs become inflamed in the case of a condition called bursitis. Bursitis typically causes pain in the hip, but over time it can cause a dull, aching pain to spread to the thigh.
Tendons are tough fibers that connect muscles to bones throughout your body. When these tendons become inflamed, the condition is referred to as tendonitis. Tendonitis in the hip can cause swelling, affect movement and create a grating sensation when you walk.
Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the bones of the hip joint are misaligned, leading to the joints wearing out faster than they would if properly aligned. The condition can affect children, adolescents and adults. As the joint wears out, you can experience stiffness and pain.
Injuries to the hip can also result in pain. A fracture, dislocation or labral tear are among the potential injuries to the hip point. A fracture might be the result of a fall and is common among older people. Hip dislocation occurs when the femur slips out of the hip socket, which may happen as the result of a fall or a car accident. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that helps to cushion the hip joint. A labral tear is a common sports injury.
Pain Treatments and Remedies for Hip Pain
Some conditions causing hip pain can be treated and resolved at home, while others require medical intervention. Some of the common remedies for hip joint pain include:
- Over-the-counter medication: Minor hip injuries, such as a strain, can benefit from over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Ice and heat: You may also find relief from hip pain by using ice and heat. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for short intervals. You can also soak in a hot bath or use a heating pad to ease the discomfort.
- Stretching and low-impact exercises: Stretching and low-impact exercise, such as yoga, can help strengthen hip muscles, reduce pain and prevent future pain. Exercise as an approach to pain relief is ideal for minor discomfort and injury. If you are experiencing severe pain or you aren’t sure of the cause of your hip pain, it is best to consult a doctor before trying stretches and exercise at home.
- Physical therapy: A doctor may decide that you could benefit from physical therapy. A trained physical therapist will show you how to engage in stretches and exercises to address and reduce your pain.
- Cortisone injections: Some conditions require more intervention. Your doctor may suggest cortisone injections to reduce pain and swelling in the hip joint. Injections can be a treatment option for conditions like bursitis and osteoarthritis.
- Surgery: Some hip conditions require surgical intervention. For example, a labral tear may need to be repaired via minimally invasive surgery. Osteotomy is another example of hip surgery, usually done to treat hip dysplasia.
When You Should See a Doctor
Hip pain might be a minor inconvenience that resolves over time, or it could be the result of a more serious condition that requires treatment. It might be time to see a doctor if you experience:
- Intense, sudden pain after an injury: Injuries sometimes happen while you are playing a sport or after you have fallen, and it is always a good idea to be checked by a doctor if you experience sudden pain. A hip dislocation, fracture or labral tear requires prompt medical attention. If it turns out to be a less serious injury, a doctor can still recommend appropriate care.
- Chronic pain: Some hip pain may feel like a dull ache that developed over time. If that pain stubbornly consists over weeks or months, it may require medical attention. A doctor will be able to discuss your symptoms and order appropriate diagnostic tests to find the cause of your chronic hip pain.
- Swelling: Some minor hip conditions, such as tendonitis, may cause swelling, but swelling can also be a sign of something more serious. If you notice swelling or discoloration at the site of pain, it is a good idea to have the injury evaluated by a doctor.
- Signs of infection: Pain accompanied by warmth, redness and swelling could indicate an infection in the joint, which can have serious consequences if left untreated.
- Difficulty moving: If your pain impedes your ability to move the joint or walk, it is time to make a doctor’s appointment. Pain that interferes with your day-to-day life requires treatment.
Receive Care for Your Hip Pain at OIP
If it is time to seek treatment for severe hip pain, where do you start? Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania (OIP) has a Hip and Knee Medical Center that specializes in the care of those two vital joints. Our providers offer conservative treatment for hip pain, including medication, physical therapy and injections. If you do need surgery to address the source of your pain, our team is here to offer rehabilitation services to get you back on your feet.
Contact us today so we can determine the best way to get you the hip pain relief you need.