The hip is a complex structure consisting of two bones, the joint between them, and the muscles that generate strength and motion. Often, these muscles also affect the back or knee joint. Because of this, hip pain can often be difficult to diagnose and very debilitating.
Everything from getting out of a chair to running requires the hip. Hip problems can be caused by overuse, traumatic injury, and/or changes that occur naturally in your body.
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, running from the knee to the hip. Its ball-shaped head fits neatly into a socket on the hip (acetabulum).
Inside the socket is a flexible rim of soft tissue called the labrum, which helps increase hip stability. Surrounding the hip joint is a joint capsule and multiple ligaments that help strengthen 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 allow the leg to move backward. The hip flexors in the front of the leg help flex the hip, bringing your leg up as if you were climbing stairs
In order for the hip to function properly, the bones, joints, and muscles must all work in unison.
Evaluating Hip Pain
We evaluate hip pain by having you tell us when and how it started, what it feels like, which treatments you have tried, and hw they’ve worked. We also ask about medical conditions that may contribute to your hip pain and conduct a physical exam to test your hip structures, evaluate your hip’s range of motion and strength, and look for specific problems.
Hip pain can sometimes be the result of a lower-back issue, since many muscles overlap. This makes it particularly difficult to determine the true cause of the pain if a nerve is pinched in your back, for instance.
Based on the findings of your physical exam, we may recommend a cortisone injection as a clinical test and pain treatment. The injection’s 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 us 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.