What is Hip Pain?
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that is subject to constant stress throughout the day. It is therefore not uncommon for it to sustain some form of injury and for the patient to suffer from pain. In this article, we take a look at some of the causes and symptoms of hip pain.
What causes Hip Pain?
There are a number of causes of hip pain. Some of these are listed below.
- Injury or trauma: This can occur from a fall or direct injury in a road traffic accident. Patients may sustain a hip fracture as a result of trauma.
- Arthritis: This is an age-related condition where there is degeneration of the issues that protect the hip joint resulting in erosion of the bone and pain. Common conditions include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to pain, patients may experience stiffness of the hip joint and reduced movement.
- Avascular necrosis: This is a condition where the blood supply to the hip bone is compromised and as a result a part at the bone gets worn away. Avascular necrosis is caused by injury to the hip bone from a hip fracture, or it can occur in patients who have been prescribed oral steroid treatment for long periods of time.
- Bursitis: Around the hip joint are small pockets of fluid that protect the joint and allow for smooth movement. Sometimes these little pockets, also called bursa, can get inflamed and cause pain. This is called bursitis and is a cause for hip pain.
- Tendon inflammation: Also called tendonitis, this condition is characterized by inflammation of the tendons that support the hip joint. Patients experience pain on movement of the joint due to the stretching of these tendons.
- Bone cancer:Cancer that involves the hip joint is usually one that has spread from another area. Though rarer than the above conditions, this diagnosis still has to be considered in patients.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
As is expected, the most common symptom of hip pain is pain. The pain is worse on movement of the hip joint and can also be felt in other parts of the leg such as the thighs and buttocks. The pain is usually worse on movement and is relieved by rest. Patients may have difficulty walking about as a result of the pain.
Hip pain is often diagnosed by an x-ray, which assesses the state of the hip joint. However in some cases, more advanced scans need to be performed, especially if cancer is being suspected as a cause.
How is Hip Pain treated?
There are a number of different options that are available that your doctor may consider when treating hip pain. Some of these options include:
- Painkillers may be prescribed depending on the patient's response to them in order to relieve pain. These can vary from simple acetaminophen to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Physical therapy is where trained physical therapists may offer a series of exercises and stretches that will help relieve pain and improve joint movement.
- Specialist treatments may be offered by the doctor depending upon the cause of the pain. For example, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be offered for patients with cancer, and disease modifying drugs may be offered for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Each patient is dealt on a case-by-case basis so no two patients will receive the same treatment.
- Surgical treatments, such as hip replacements, are usually considered especially when there is significant destruction and pain in the hip.