Hip pain can significantly impact your daily life, making even simple tasks difficult. As orthopedic surgeons, we care deeply about relieving any irritating or debilitating knee pain that our patients are living with.

Our comprehensive resource guide will take you through the potential causes of your hip pain, the treatment options recommended by our specialists, and practical tips for managing your symptoms.

With the expertise of Capital Surgical Associates orthopedic surgeons and medical team, you'll have the information and support you need to relieve your hip pain and get back to the activities you love.

What Are Common Causes of Hip Pain?

Hip pain is a very common complaint and can happen to anyone, young or old, no matter how active or inactive they are. From acute injuries sustained during sports or physical activities to chronic conditions such as arthritis or bursitis, hip problems can severely limit mobility and cause considerable discomfort.

While some cases may be alleviated with simple rest and over-the-counter medications, others may require more specialized treatments such as physical therapy or surgery.

The most common causes of hip pain include:

Hip Conditions

Muscle or Tendon Strains: Damage to the muscles and tendons that support the hip joint can cause soreness, inflammation, and swelling. The most common cause of this type of strain is overstretching or overexerting the muscles during physical activity.

Labral Tears: The labrum is the ring of cartilage that lines and supports the hip socket. Impact injuries and repetitive movement can tear or damage the labrum, causing extreme hip and lower back sensitivity.

Bursitis: Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs between bones and soft tissues that cushion and reduce friction between them. When bursae become inflamed, a condition known as bursitis can occur, which causes swelling, warmth, tenderness, redness, and aching in the affected area.

Osteoarthritis: This form of arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes cartilage to break down at the joints due to wear-and-tear or age-related changes. It can also cause stiffness in addition to aching in the hip joint.

Fractures: A fracture occurs when there is enough force or trauma to break a bone in your body, including your hip bones (femur). This type of injury is most commonly caused by falls or motor vehicle collisions but can also occur if you’re on certain medications or have weak bones from osteoporosis.

Referred Pain from a Pinched Nerve in the Back: Spasms radiating from your lower spine to your hip may be caused by pinched nerve roots due to herniated discs or spinal stenosis (narrowing of your spinal column).

Hip Injuries

Sports Injuries: Overuse injuries such as tendinopathy (inflammation of tendons) are commonly seen among athletes who participate in sports involving running or jumping activities like soccer or basketball, often leading to agonizing conditions like trochanteric bursitis or tendon strains around your hip joint area.

Overuse: Repetitive activities such as walking long distances, squatting for extended periods during gardening work, or playing an instrument can cause muscle fatigue leading to tension in the muscles surrounding your hips, resulting in irritation.

Traumatic Accidents: Direct impact such as falling on a hard surface when skateboarding or skiing can lead to fractures of bones around your hips along with other soft tissue injuries such as ligament sprains which could result in severe throbbing along with extreme swelling and bruising around that area - requiring medical attention right away.

Falls: Slipping on wet surfaces at home due to poor lighting conditions is one example where falls may occur, particularly among seniors, leading to severe hip pain. If those injuries are not treated promptly, they might lead to serious complications.

Back Injuries: It’s common for different types of back injuries to cause hip discomfort. Due to the anatomy of these reasons, the many nerves and muscles that run between the back and hips can indicate an injury and cause radiating agony in either area.

What Are The “Red Flags” of Hip Pain?

Several telltale signs can identify red flags of hip conditions. Pain radiating from the hip to the thigh, groin, or lower back may indicate a more serious issue. The inability to walk normally or with any degree of comfort is another important symptom that should not be ignored. Numbness in the leg may be accompanied by muscle weakness or instability, which could indicate nerve damage related to a possible hip injury.

It is also important for people to be aware of any disfigurement, clicking, or a catching feeling in the hip area, as this could point to an underlying structural issue. If left untreated, any of these red flags can lead to further complications. Therefore, seeking medical attention and having your hip evaluated if you are experiencing any concerning symptoms such as those listed above is essential.

What Non-Surgical Remedies Can Help Alleviate Hip Pain?

Non-surgical treatments that help alleviate hip pain include:

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or naproxen that can help treat soreness and reduce inflammation.
  • Stretching will improve your flexibility and can even help prevent future injuries. Doing a routine of stretches can lengthen muscles, ease stiffness, and enhance the range of motion.
  • Home exercises and gentle calisthenics are useful tools for recovering from musculoskeletal injuries or conditions. Easy to do at home, exercises will build strength, flexibility, and endurance. Ask Dr. Applonie or Dr. Johnson for clear instructions and guidance on performing exercises correctly and safely.
  • Physical therapy can be helpful for patients with a variety of conditions, including sports injuries, back pain, and arthritis. The goal of PT is to restore your body's natural function through lite exercise, manual techniques, and other guided treatments. Healthcare providers should work closely with physical therapists to develop personalized patient treatment plans.
  • Intra-Articular injections are a type of medicine that can be injected directly into the hip joint to reduce inflammation and tenderness quickly. This type of treatment is often used for patients with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

If these remedies are ineffective in relieving symptoms or if the hip pain persists or worsens, surgical intervention may prove necessary. Signs indicating that non-surgical treatments are no longer effective include a continued or deteriorating level of discomfort, feelings of catching or popping with movement, and return of symptoms when trying to resume activities that were previously limited due to the severity of discomfort.

For those experiencing persistent hip afflictions, it is important to consult a medical professional to determine the best course of action for symptom relief.

What Hip Injuries and Conditions Require Orthopedic Surgery?

Surgery will likely be recommended if your hip pain worsens with these symptoms:

  • Labral tears
  • Hip fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendon tears

What Surgical Procedures Can Fix Hip Pain?

Hip Replacement: Also known as total hip arthroplasty, this procedure is usually recommended for those with osteoarthritis and other types of hip degeneration. The goal is to replace the damaged joint with an artificial one made of metal and plastic components. Patients can rejoice in an improved quality of life with significantly reduced pain levels and increased mobility.

Hip Arthroscopy: An arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that a surgeon can use to help diagnose and treat different hip conditions. During this, a small incision is made in the hip area, and tiny cameras are inserted to give the physician visibility to the anatomy below.

Hip Fracture Fixation: This procedure stabilizes fractured bones to heal correctly. It involves placing metal plates, screws, or rods onto the broken pieces of bone to hold them in place while healing occurs. Ideally, it should be performed within 48 hours of suffering a fracture for the best results.

Tendon Repair: Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone and can become damaged over time due to repetitive stress or injury. Patients can often have their tendons repaired with a simple and quick arthroscopic procedure.

What Can Happen if Hip Pain Is Left Untreated?

Hip pain, if worsening, should never be left untreated. Neglecting an issue like arthritis, among others, could lead to stiffness or inflammation in the joint, eventually leading to impacted mobility. If surgery is needed for any reason, such as a hip replacement or injury repair, arthritis will make the recovery process harder and more difficult to manage.

In addition to arthritis, untreated issues can spread throughout the leg, weakening muscles and limiting the ability of tendons and ligaments to function properly. This loss of strength or function can lead to a decreased quality of life, making it difficult to do everyday activities like walking or climbing stairs. It's important to seek medical treatment if you are experiencing hip pain that doesn't go away.

How To Recover From Hip Surgery

  • Be diligent about the post-operative exercises.
  • Follow any motion or weight-bearing restrictions after surgery, as they are important to healing.
  • Limit activities that cause pain.
  • Restrict driving for four weeks or longer after surgery.
  • Use medications only as prescribed.