Everything from getting out of a chair to running requires your hip – a complex structure that consists of two bones, a joint between them, and muscles that generate strength and motion.
Hip problems can be caused by overuse, traumatic injury, and/or naturally occurring bodily changes, and can affect the back and knee.
Suffering from hip pain? Contact us to learn about treatment options.
How Your Hip Works
The hip consists of two bones: the thighbone (femur) and the hip (pelvis), which come together to form the hip joint (iliofemoral).
The thighbone is a long bone that runs from the knee to the hip. Its ball-shaped head fits neatly into a socket on the hip (acetabulum). The socket is lined with a flexible rim of soft tissue called the labrum, which helps increase stability. A joint capsule surrounds and strengthens the hip joint.
Many small muscles surround the hip joint and work together to turn the leg in (internally or medially rotate) or out (externally or laterally rotate). The large gluteal muscles let the leg move backward. The hip flexors in the front of the leg help bring up your leg so you can do things like climb stairs.
For the hip to function properly, bones, joints, and muscles must work in unison.
Evaluating Hip Pain
We evaluate hip pain by first talking with you. We want to know when and how the pain started, what it feels like, treatments you’ve tried, and how they’ve worked. We’ll ask about medical conditions that may contribute to your hip pain and do a physical exam to test your hip’s structures, evaluate its range of motion and strength, and look for specific problems.
It can be hard to determine the root cause of hip pain, since pain can sometimes be caused by a pinched nerve or other lower-back issue. However, we’ll do our utmost to get to the bottom of your hip pain, and come up with an effective treatment plan.
Based on your physical exam, we may recommend a cortisone injection. Its numbing medicine helps us determine the pain source, while the cortisone can provide pain relief.
Sometimes we order X-rays or MRIs to visualize your bones and soft tissues. X-rays can show fractures, spurs, and changes from arthritis. MRIs can show more bone detail, as well as soft-tissue damage like muscle or labrum tears.
Causes of Hip Pain
- Bone Spurs/Impingement
- Soft tissue damage
- Less common causes include dislocation, infection, tumors, or nerve problems
Treating Hip Pain
Hip pain treatment is specific to the diagnosis and severity of your symptoms.
Lifestyle modifications include resting your hip, changing activities to avoid painful situations, and doing exercises to strengthen weak muscles.
Physical therapy focuses on getting your hip muscles and joints to work together properly. Even if you’re very strong and active, muscle imbalances may cause hip pain. Physical therapists can identify and address imbalances through corrective exercises, either on an outpatient basis or via telehealth. You’ll also receive at-home exercises to work on between appointments.