Hip pain is a prevalent condition that can be caused by an underlying issue, or it can also be as simple as overuse and extended periods of awkward or unusual movements. Our hips are constantly in use, taking a lot of strain over the average lifespan. This is why serious hip problems tend to occur frequently in the elderly.
Causes of Hip Pain
When the hip is used for walking, running, or any other movement, there is a layer of cartilage that stops any friction as the hip bones move around in the sockets. This mechanism is highly durable by design because of its vital importance in many movements that our bodies make throughout the day.
It isn’t, however, indestructible. The more we move and get older, the more the cartilage wears down, and the more likely we are to suffer from hip pain. Other components may include the muscles, tendons, and bones, which can become strained and fragile.
Various health conditions can cause hip pain, too. Some are associated with age and overuse, and some can also point to other health conditions.
- Arthritis – Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are widespread causes of hip pain. They occur primarily in older adults but can also affect younger people. Arthritis causes severe hip joint inflammation and breaks down the cartilage we mentioned earlier. Stiffness of the hip and limited movement are common symptoms.
- Hip Fractures – With overuse and age, the hip bones can weaken and become more susceptible to cracks, breaks, and fractures, which can happen with even seemingly minor falls.
- Bursitis – When the sacs of liquid found between tissue and bone, called bursae, become inflamed, it can cause severe hip pain.
- Tendinitis – Tendons are thick tissue structures that attach our bones to our muscles, and tendinitis occurs when the tendons become inflamed and irritated due to overuse.
- Muscle/Tendon Strain – Mild hip pain can also be caused by temporary muscle or tendon strain, usually caused by overexertion during exercise.
- Hip Labrum Tear – The Labrum is a ring of cartilage on the outside of the hip socket that secures the bone ball into the socket. It is not only excruciating but can also take a while to heal.
- Cancer – Cancerous tumors that start in the bone or end up in the bone can also be a more sinister underlying cause of hip pain, although this is less likely to be the cause, depending on one’s health history.
- Avascular necrosis (AKA osteonecrosis) – This is a condition that occurs when blood flow to the hip bone is limited, and bone tissue begins dying. It often occurs due to a fracture, dislocation, or the irresponsible use of steroids.
Symptoms of Hip Pain
Hip pain can be present in varying degrees, from mild to severe and everything in between, and is generally felt in the following regions:
- Inside of the hip joint
- Outside of the hip joint
Most pain will worsen when specific movements are made, and one will often experience a limited range of motion in the hip area.
Treatment of Hip Pain
If pain is minor and intermittent, or occasional, you might be able to treat it yourself using the following self-care techniques:
- Rest – Avoid overuse and pressure on the hip. It is also important not to sit still for too long, so be sure to move around throughout the day without overexerting.
- Painkillers – Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories can temporarily relieve hip pain.
- Hot and Cold treatment – Warm compresses can help relieve muscle tension, and ice packs can help alleviate the swelling.
You should, however, always seek the advice of a hip specialist in the following situations:
- A visibly deformed joint
- Minimal movement of hip and leg
- A hip joint or bone susceptible to pressure
- Extreme pain
- Extreme swelling
- Symptoms of infection such as fever, chills, redness
Your hips are vital to performing daily functions, and you should take good care of them by avoiding strenuous activities and monitoring pain and inflammation responsibly. If you suffer from hip pain, or any other joint pain or inflammation, find a physician at Oasis Hospital to get relief: https://oasishospital.com/physicians/