FAQ’s on Hip Pain
The hip joint is one of the main supportive areas in the body, and is located where the
femur of the leg meets the pelvic socket it is housed in.
The joint is lined with cartilage, which can be worn down over time. The bones that comprise the hip can also become damaged from physical trauma.
What are the causes of Hip Pain?
Common causes of pain in the hip include:
- Muscle or tendon strain: Repetitive activities can strain the muscles, ligaments, or tendons of the hip.
- Trauma: Direct physical injury to the hip, such as a fracture, can produce symptomatic pains.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common sources of hip pain.
What are the symptoms of Hip Pain?
Symptoms will include pain localized to the source, which will typically be the anterior hip and groin, the lateral hip, or the posterior hip and buttock. Pain may increase in severity during movement, or may radiate up to cause pain in the surrounding body. Some patients may experience an alteration of their walking gait.
How is Hip Pain diagnosed?
Direct physical examination is not always able to produce an accurate diagnosis. Many of our patients will be given an X-ray in the event that the source is likely physical, or an MRI to examine the soft tissues of the hip in search for swelling (Evaluation of the patient with hip pain, 2014).
What are the treatment options for Hip Pain?
The treatment options available to patients will be based on what the route source of pain is, and on the severity to which symptoms are present. Minor symptoms of pain may be treated with conservative methods first, which include:
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication to provide relief for swelling and pain, which are effective in providing relief when pain is present due to a tendon or muscle strain, or is due to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis also has a number of prescription medications that be given to patients to provide symptomatic relief (transdermal fentanyl for the treatment of pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, 2014).
- In the event that pain is being caused by rheumatoid arthritis, prescription strength medication will be used to provide relief
- Icing the area in 10 to 15 minute sessions multiple times during the day can be effective, providing the hip is being rested until symptoms fade.
- Physical therapy and exercise can be a strong source of relief for patients, as exercise with low-impact techniques can help to provide mobility to the joint while reducing symptomatic pains. In some cases, the use of physical therapy to strengthen the hip can reduce the need for surgical correction, allowing a patient to postpone the need for hip replacement surgery (Exercise therapy may postpone total hip replacement surgery in patients with hip osteoarthritis, 2013).
- Depending on the source of pain, an interventional injection may be used to provide pain relief. If arthritic inflammation is the source of pain, a steroidal injection can assist in reducing the inflammation present to produce relief. An injection of numbing agent into the hip joint may also be used as a diagnostic tool to confirm if the joint is the source of a patient’s pain. If the numbing agent does not provide adequate relief, it can be confirmed that another source is the likely cause of symptoms.
Patients who are not able to obtain relief through conservative methods can expect to find relief through invasive correction of the hip, namely in the form of a total hip arthroplasty (replacement). Arthroplasty is a common technique for elderly patients who have suffered extensive arthritic damage to their hip. Patients who have had a severe fracture of the hip may also be eligible to undergo arthroplasty to obtain relief.
In the rare event that pain persists after arthroplasty, there are still treatment options available to patients to provide symptomatic relief (Iliopsoas bursa injections can be beneficial for pain after total hip arthroplasty, 2010).