The hip joint is very resilient. It withstands repetitive motions under a fair amount of weight. The largest of the body’s ball-and-socket joints, the bones, and cartilage of the hip fit together in a way that supports fluid movement. Injury or deterioration of the hip joint or surrounding tissues can lead to ongoing pain. We help people address the symptoms of hip pain using substances known to facilitate inflammation reduction and tissue regeneration.
What Causes Hip Pain?
The hips are used in many of the movements we perform daily. When we run, walk, stand, sit, and do numerous other activities, the cartilage in the hip joint acts as a cushion that prevents friction between the ball of the hip bone and its surrounding socket.
Despite being structured for durability, the hip joint may sustain significant injury. The cartilage that helps the hip move smoothly may wear down as we age. The muscles and tendons that support the hip joint may get overused. The bones in the hip may be broken accidentally. Each of these factors may cause hip pain.
Common hip pain causes include:
- Osteoarthritis, the condition in which the cartilage of the hip joint breaks down due to inflammation.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes cartilage-destroying inflammation.
- Hip fracture, usually seen in older people, may result from a fall onto a weak or brittle hip.
- Tendinitis. Tendons attach the bones of the hip to muscles around the joint. Repetitive use may lead to inflammation called tendinitis.
- Bursitis is inflammation in the fluid-filled sacs situated between tissues around the hip.
- Labral tear in the hip joint. The labrum is the ring of cartilage that lines the outside rim of the hip socket. This cartilage helps secure the ball of the thighbone in the hip socket. Repetitive use or injury may cause a tear.
- Tendon or muscle strains may result from repetitive movements like jumping or climbing.
Does Hip Joint Pain feel Different from Pain in the Hip Flexor?
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that attach to various points on the spine, pelvis, and thigh bone. These muscles help us perform numerous movements, including lifting the leg in front of the body. Runners and other athletes often complain about pain related to the hip flexors. Signs that a hip flexor strain has developed include:
- Sudden, sharp pain in the pelvis or hip after an injury
- Soreness, tenderness, or a cramping sensation in the upper leg
- Muscle spasms in the thigh or hip
- A tugging sensation coupled with a loss of strength in the groin area
- Limited range of motion that causes limping
- Inability to jump, kick, or sprint
- Stiffness after rest
It is important that the cause of hip pain is determined through a thorough medical consultation and examination so appropriate steps can be taken to help the muscle repair.
How is Hip Pain Diagnosed?
The cause of hip pain is diagnosed using physical examination and medical imaging. A doctor will also conduct a consultation to determine if an injury occurred sometime before the onset of pain. Patients may be asked about the severity and frequency of pain, the sensations and location of discomfort, and when the pain began. During the physical examination, the doctor may evaluate how the patient stands and walks, noting abnormalities in gate. The range of motion of the hip is examined to help determine where pain may be coming from, the hip, bursae, or the spine. Medical imaging provides crucial information relating to bone and soft tissue. X-rays can reveal fractures, bone spurs, and other potential problems in bone tissue. MRI can show tears or fraying of the labrum and cartilage tissue. The doctor considers all data obtained from the consultation, examination, and imaging to reach an accurate diagnosis.
What are The Pain Management Options for Hip Pain?
Symptoms of hip problems are usually managed conservatively whenever possible. Doctors may recommend:
- Activity modifications to prevent further damage to injured tissue
- Anti-inflammatory pain medication to reduce irritation within tissues
- The use of ice packs on the hip a few times a day to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Physical therapy may be needed to help restore strength and flexibility through prescribed hip exercises
- Severe injury or degeneration of the hip may require surgery for complete repair
Hip pain may also be treated using substances like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are immature cells that have not yet determined what they become. Inserting these cells into damaged tissue, including bone, can stimulate tissue repair and also reduce inflammation. Stem cell therapy has been successfully used by doctors and the Mayo Clinic to help patients with hip conditions including osteonecrosis postpone the need for surgery.
Is There Anything I Can Do at Home for Hip Pain?
Hip pain should be evaluated by a healthcare professional whether it is attributed to an injury or has no known cause. Examination of the hip joint and surrounding tissues, including the low back, provides accurate data to help the doctor determine the extent of care that may be needed.
Discomfort caused by minor hip injuries or early signs of arthritis may be managed with exercises that open the hip flexors, such as “happy baby” or “child’s pose” yoga postures. Taking warm baths, using a hot tub or sauna, or placing warm compresses on tissue may release tightness temporarily. Conversely, ice packs may soothe inflammation and pain. Many people who are dealing with hip pain also take anti-inflammatory medication to help improve comfort.
When home remedies for hip pain do not lead to improved comfort within a few weeks, it is time to seek additional help from an orthopedic specialist or, as an alternative, a regenerative medicine provider with experience using solutions like platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy.
Can I Exercise with Hip Pain?
One must take care when exercising with hip pain, especially if no formal diagnosis has been made to identify the source of pain. Exercise should allow optimal circulation through the hip joint, which can help tissue repair, while also minimizing stress on injured or degraded structures. Suggestions include:
- Gentle, restorative yoga
- Floor exercises such as crunches and plank or push-ups
- Movements on an exercise ball, including stretches and crunches
- Exercise targeting the upper body
Schedule a Consultation
Hip pain can inhibit normal movements and lead to breakdown in the joint structure over time. To learn more about services like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy for hip pain, call 215-375-7107 and schedule a visit to Philadelphia or Upper Darby office.