Hip Pain and Possible Causes
Hip pain can afflict many people through wear and tear, although it can happen regardless of age. There are many reasons that our hips can fail us, may it be overuse or underuse, an injury, sitting too long with poor posture, arthritis, and more.
How the Hip Works
The hip joint is known as a ball and socket joint. The ball, called the femoral head, is located at the top of the femur, the bone in the upper part of the leg. This fits into a socket, or hollow area in the pelvis, called the acetabulum. Within the acetabulum is cartilage, called the labrum that helps keep the ball in the socket. These two parts are covered in a sleeve called the capsule that holds the joint in place. This capsule contains fluid that provides a lubrication to keep the joint moving as, well, a well-oiled machine.
What Could Go Wrong?
Although this strong system is amazing in its simplistic complexity, it can still be injured, torn, or broken. A common cause of hip pain in younger adults, 20-40 years old, are hip labral tears, usually caused by an injury to the area. When the labrum that keeps the ball inside the socket becomes damaged, it can decrease stability in the joint causing pain and lowered range of motion.
Hip Impingement Can Happen to Anyone
Aside from labral tears, another cause of hip pain is hip impingement. One can have this issue for many years and not be aware as it initially is not a painful condition. Hip impingement can be caused when the ball, or femoral head, is deformed, or irregularly shaped and rather than gliding effortlessly within the socket, jams into it painfully. This type of hip impingement is called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), and can occur with many types of activity, from bike riding or yoga or squats. Impingement can also be caused by a deformity of the socket, or in some cases, both the ball and socket.
Greater Trochanteric Bursitis
While this condition sounds like something from the prehistoric era, bursitis is common in joints, such as the hip, elbow, knee, and shoulder. The bursa are sacs of fluid that lie between bone, muscles, and tendons. They enable the joint area to move smoothly. When they become irritated or inflamed, it can cause pain in the area. This condition makes it difficult to get out of a chair, walk up stairs, or do normal functions without pain in the hip area. It can also cause low back pain, and pain in the thigh or even buttock.
How to Make It Better
Depending on the severity of symptoms, NSAIDs, rest, alternating between heating pads and ice packs are the first course of action. However, if the pain impedes on day to day activities, and none of the above methods seem to ease the pain, it may be time to seek an expert in sports medicine. Those in the area can contact San Diego Orthopedic Surgery.
Dr. Robert Afra, M.D