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Hip Pain - Not to be ignored

sprains and strains

The hip joint is a ball & socket joint, designed to provide a good amount of stability & range of movement. The top of the femur (thighbone) is a ball shape which fits into a socket on the bottom edge of the pelvis (acetabulum). When we “put our hands on our hips” we are really putting them on the top of our pelvis. Many muscles connect to & cross the hip joint.

A large percentage of hip degeneration stems from untreated stiffness that worsens over time. This stiffness can be linked to poor positioning, such as sitting all day along with insufficient stretching to allow the joint to regain adequate range of
movement in all planes. Stiffness is not usually viewed as a main concern in young people, many adopting the attitude that it will resolve on its own with no future consequences. It is not until we experience pain, discomfort or a loss of function that we seek treatment, but by this stage; degenerative changes have already started to occur.

Early treatment can prevent the need for total hip replacement surgery.


Sources of Hip Pain

Hip fractures occur generally in the older population due to falls but are occasionally seen in motor vehicle accidents or sporting injuries. A preventative balance & falls prevention programme is advisable. A hip fracture is considered a medical emergency & often requires surgery.

Muscles and tendons are susceptible to wear & tear or overuse injuries. The most common cause of such injuries is inadequate warm up or a burst of activity following sustained sitting. Weakness & fatigue of many of the hip muscles can result in abnormal movement patterns which over time can lead to pain. Tightness of some muscles changes
the centre of rotation of the ball in the socket speeding up the bone & joint degeneration.

As we age, the cartilage covering the ball & socket roughens & deteriorates leaving the joint painful & with nothing left to prevent bone to bone friction resulting in pain, especially during weight bearing activities. The joint capsule, a sac surrounding the joint provides the main source of stability for the hip, holding it in place. Laxity, excessive tightness or damage to the ligaments that comprise the joint capsule can cause pain & increase friction.

The bursae are little balloons of fluid to lubricate the area & reduce friction. The bursa around the hip can become inflamed and painful usually caused by repetitive motions, a traumatic blow or sometimes even from sleeping on your side.

The sciatic nerve can become a compressed, pinched or irritated. Sciatic nerve damage can often present as hip pain, lower back pain or even groin pain. The source of the pain may be both the actual hip joint & the low back.

A prevention programme for the hip is likely to consist of:
  • Core  strength
  • Gait retraining
  • Balance retraining
  • Correction of muscle imbalance
  • Mobilisation & massage of joints & muscles
  • Ergonomic advice & adaptation
  • Footwear advice
Advice for Healthy Hips –
  • Reduce sitting time
  • Avoid prolonged crossing of legs
  • If restricted to a sedentary (desk) job, ensure regular stretching is part of
    your daily routine
  • Don’t ignore early symptoms….as minor as it could be, best get it seen by your physiotherapist to avoid later complications!

See a Physio early call now 07 35116352 or online.