The hip is one of the steadiest and most robust joints in the human body. It is the largest ball and socket joint in the body. Your hips are multi-axial, which means they can rotate on more than one axis and provide a broad range of movement.
The joint is designed for stability and weight-bearing. The ball and socket of the hip joints have a covering of cartilage that acts as a cushion between them. The hip joint is surrounded by muscles and tendons that hold them in place.
Although the hip joint is one of the toughest in the body and can take a decent amount of wear and tear, it isn’t indestructible. Hip pain is widespread and common in almost all ages.
All hip pains are not a sign of danger and usually reside within a few days. The ones that cause concern are those that don’t go away within two weeks. In such a case, you should immediately seek medical help.
Various reasons can trigger hip pain and cause inconvenience. It can either be caused by the structures in the hip joint itself or the ones surrounding it. The following are some of the usual causes of hip pain.
Common Causes of Hip Pain
As mentioned above, the hip joint is very stable and durable. The most common cause that can damage this robust structure is an accident. The extent of injury depends on the severity of the accident. The pain might be caused by slipping in the house or taking a fall on your hips. You can also incur damage in case of a car crash.
It is prevalent in adults, especially the elderly. It is a collective term used to address any condition affecting the joints, muscles, or tissues surrounding them. Millions of people are diagnosed with arthritis worldwide every year. The two most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Some people can also develop inflammatory arthritis, the most common of which is rheumatoid arthritis. In this form of arthritis, the body’s immune system begins to target the joint linings.
The immune system is meant to target viruses and bacteria, but sometimes it can target healthy body tissue. It is still not known what triggers this disease. It causes inflammation and swelling in and around the joints of your body. You must lookout for early signs of rheumatoid arthritis, such as fatigue, joint pain, and swelling.
The most common arthritis is osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis. Cartilage is a coating on the ball (femoral head) and the socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint.
This cartilage can wear off as people age and cause hip pain. People often think that only the elderly are affected by arthritis. It is a misconception as people as young as twenty can also have arthritis.
People in sports can develop osteoarthritis because of the repetitive movements of the joints. Another common cause of this type of arthritis is obesity, which puts extra pressure and burden on the joints.
Hip pain in younger people is primarily due to hip impingement. It is caused by abnormal contact between the upper thigh bone (the ball) and the outside of the hip (socket). A seal covers the outside of the socket, known as the labrum. When abnormal contact occurs, it can cause damage to the labrum and cause hip pain.
Athletes who perform repetitive movements that cause the leg to move beyond its normal range also suffer from a hip impingement. Footballers, golfers, dancers, and hockey players are some of the athletes who can develop hip impingement.
You could suffer from hip impingement if you feel stiffness in or around the hips or when flexing them. You might also feel pain in the groin area after sitting for a long time or performing an activity requiring you to turn your hips.
Most sporting activities involve the repetition of the same movements over and over. It can cause stress on the muscles, ligaments, or tendons that perform the essential task of supporting the hips.
This stress causes inflammation in these parts, affecting the hips’ normal movement. It can also cause tears in these soft tissues and lead to pain. Apart from repetition, it can also be caused by activities that flex beyond the limit of the muscle.
If you practice such sports, you must rest appropriately so the muscles can recover. If you don’t let them recover properly, they might end up causing severe hip pain.
Sports strain can also lead to tendinitis. Tendons are responsible for attaching the bones to the muscles. With strenuous and repetitive exercise, inflammation can occur in the tendons and irritate them. This condition is known as tendinitis.
As we age, our bone strength begins to deteriorate as we become weak. It is known as osteoporosis and is more common in the elderly, but it can also affect young people. Women are said to have a higher chance of getting this disease. Due to this, a minor fall can cause a fracture in the bones or, worse, break them. Extreme cases of osteoporosis can cause a fracture even by walking. The hip bone is also vulnerable to this, and thus, one should be extremely careful in older age.
Another reason for hip fractures is obesity. Obese people put extra pressure on the hip bone, which can lead to a fracture. A malnourished person should also be extra careful. Some nutrients are vital for bone health, such as calcium. If a person doesn’t have adequate nutrients required for healthy bone, it might get fractured.
If you have a fracture in the hip bone, the first sign would be a pain in the hip. It will also cause pain in the groin area. Another symptom of a hip fracture is an inability to put weight on the affected part and not walk.
Bursae are sacs in our bodies and are filled with liquid. They aim to act as a cushion between the bones, tendons, muscles, and joints and lubricate them. There are around 150 of these present in our bodies.
These sacs can suffer from inflammation and cause pain. This condition is known as bursitis. Apart from the hip, it is common in the shoulder and elbow. The term tennis elbow is referred to people suffering from bursitis in the elbow.
Early signs of hip bursitis include acute and intense pain in the affected area. This pain can extend to the upper thigh and is more severe when lying in the region it affects.
You might also feel pain when standing up after a long sitting session. Usually, the pain subsides in intensity but still might cause minor inconvenience. If it doesn’t reside entirely in two weeks, you must visit the doctor for a thorough physical examination.
If the blood supply to the hip bone is disrupted, it causes the bone tissue to die. This condition is known as Avascular Necrosis. It can also induce pain in the groin and the thigh. It is common in people over 40, and men are more prone to it than women.
Starting symptoms include a minor ache or a throbbing pain in the hips or the groin. In the later stages, you might find it difficult to put weight on the affected side of the buttocks. A doctor will recommend getting an MRI to diagnose avascular necrosis.
Best Home Remedies For Hip Pain
Icing the Affected Area or Heating It
When hip pain occurs, it is best to ice the area for around 10 to 15 minutes daily. You can put ice in a towel and directly place it on your skin. The reason that icing soothes the pain in the hip is that it reduces inflammation. Arthritis also causes a burning sensation; placing an ice pack on the affected region immediately relieves it.
If you feel stiffness in the hip joints, you can also try heating the area. Heating pads are readily available in the market and are inexpensive. Place the pads on the affected area for around 20 to 30 minutes daily to relieve stiffness.
Make sure not to place it directly on top of the skin as it might burn it. Lay a towel or a piece of clothing between the pad and your skin for safety. If you don’t have a pad, you can take a warm shower or a bath, as it will also help ease the pain caused by the stiffness of the joints.
The Counter Pain medication
Some hip pains usually reside by themselves for a couple of days. You can reduce the pain by taking pain medications. They are pretty helpful if your hip pain is due to muscle strain. You can also take anti-inflammatory drugs if you have hip pain that is caused by inflammation.
As you have already read, repetitive activity can cause stress on the hip joints and muscles, and it is necessary to give them adequate rest. If you do not give them enough time to recover, it might end up causing severe damage.
If you have hip pain already, try avoiding any movement that might put pressure on the hips. When you lay on the bed, ensure you don’t sleep on the affected side. A few days of rest can often relieve hip pain caused by stress in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Exercise and Stretch
Performing specific exercises and stretching routines can help get rid of hip pain. It is especially beneficial when the pain is due to the strain on the hip muscles. Some specific exercises also help people suffering from arthritis.
Best Exercises to Ease Hip Pain:
There are two types of exercises that help with hip pain. One is stretching the hip joint muscles, which improves mobility and helps combat stiffness. You should perform these exercises when your muscles are relaxed, usually after a hot shower. Another thing you should understand is to do these when you are feeling the least amount of pain.
The second type of exercise is for strengthening the hip muscles. These will enhance the support that the forces provide to the hip joint. Not only will these reduce pain, but they also ensure that your hip joint is better protected and less prone to injury.
Remember to start slowly. Perform three or fewer exercises daily and three to four days a week. Once you are used to them and more comfortable, you can perform more than three of them daily.
These exercises should ease your pain, and it is reasonable to feel slight discomfort after performing them. If you think stretching and exercise increase your pain, reduce the repetition as you see fit.
Stretch Exercises for Hip Pain:
Hip Flexor Stretch:
A straightforward exercise that you can perform anywhere. You can do this exercise 5 times a day. Here’s how to do hip flexor stretch:
- Stand straight and close to a wall, raise your hands horizontally to the floor, and put them on the wall.
- Set one foot ahead of the other. Be sure that both of your feet are flat on the ground.
- Gently shift your weight slightly forward. As you do this, you will feel the front side of your back hip stretching.
You can perform this exercise from the conform of your home, right on your bed.
- Lay on your side
- Bent your hips slightly
- Bent your knees 90 degrees
- Make sure to hold your pelvis steady and feet together
- Slowly open up your knees
- Hold it up for one second
- put it back down and repeat
- Ensure you don’t rotate your pelvis backward when opening the knees.
You can start doing three sets of ten repetitions daily.
You can do this exercise on a table, bed, or floor. Here’s how to perform bridges.
- Lay flat on the floor
- Place your feet flat on the ground by raising your knees and making a 45-degree angle between them.
- Place your hands on the side.
- Contract your glutes and raise your hips upwards.
- Make sure to make a straight line between your knees and the shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for a second, then lower yourself back down.
Perform three sets of ten per day in the beginning.
Strength Exercises for Easing Hip Pain:
Another stretching exercise that you can perform anywhere. All you need is a chair, and you are good to go.
- Stand straight in front of a chair and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Put your hands on the chair.
- Keep one leg planted on the floor and lift the other backward. Make sure to move it as far back as possible without any discomfort.
- Pinch the buttocks and hold the position for around five seconds.
Perform 8-12 repetitions on a single leg and switch to the other.
You can execute this exercise with or without support. You can do this exercise anywhere you like.
- Stand straight
- Put your hands on a chair or anything robust available for support.
- Raise one of your knees to the hip level or as far as you can raise them without discomfort.
- Do the same for the other leg.
- Keep your body upright, and don’t lean towards the support.
You can do ten repetitions on each leg for this exercise.
A straightforward exercise that strengthens the hip muscles and eases hip pain. You can accomplish this exercise with or without support. You can also do it while standing up or lying on the floor. Here’s how you do hip abduction.
- Stand upright.
- Use your arms for support on a stable surface like a chair or table.
- Start with your feet together.
- Slowly lift one of your legs to the outside.
- Make sure not to rotate the hips while doing so and not to lean.
You can repeat the exercise ten times for each leg.
When to visit a Doctor:
If your hip pain doesn’t go away in two weeks, you must immediately consult a doctor. It might also be a cause of concern if you experience hip pain after a fall or a car crash. This pain should be appropriately examined and diagnosed through an x-ray, ct scan, MRI, and physical checkup. You should also get medical treatment if you see any deformation in the hip joint or any signs of bleeding.