The hip joint is designed to withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. It is a ball-and-socket joint – the body’s largest – it is attached to the pelvic bones and it fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement. Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction and soften impacts as the hip bone moves in its socket.
Despite its durability, the hip joint isn’t indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. The hip bone itself can be fractured during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain.
These are some of the conditions that are most likely to cause hip pain:
Arthritis. Arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are amongst the most common causes of hip pain. Arthritis can lead to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that normally cushions your hip bones. The pain may gradually worsen as the arthritis progresses. People with arthritis also often feel stiffness and have a reduced range of motion in the hip. The pain will be located at the hip, but may often be experienced in the groin or down the front of the leg and into the knee.
Whilst patients may not avoid the need for eventual hip replacement surgery, a combination of Osteopathy and Acupuncture may often give periods of relief lasting years.
Hip fractures. Fractures of the hip are a particular problem in elderly people. With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to fracture during a fall.
Bursitis. Inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs (called bursae) that protect muscles and tendons is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint.
- Tendinopathy. Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. It’s usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse.
Muscle or tendon strain: Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the hips. When these structures become inflamed from overuse or an injury they can cause pain and prevent the hip from functioning normally.
Whatever the cause of your hip pain, there are several places where you may experience the discomfort
- Inside or outside of the hip joint
With hip pain it is important to get a physical assessment as the hip joint is amenable to treatment. Osteopathy, dry needling and Acupuncture work well in helping restore function and reduce pain in this disabling condition.