Hip pain is a common occurrence, particularly as we age. While this discomfort can be caused by injury, it can also stem from degenerative conditions, leading to chronic pain if left untreated. Here we’ll be addressing different causes of hip pain in adults of all age groups, how they’re diagnosed and possible treatment options.
What are some of the most common injuries and conditions affecting the hips?
Common symptoms of any hip condition include pain in the hip and/or groin, pain when bending, kneeling or squatting, tight or sore hips after sitting for long periods and pain in the outside of the hip ranging from dull to sharp.
Like other parts of the body, degenerative hip conditions, such as osteoarthritis become more prevalent as we age. With time, the cartilage at the hip joint wears away, causing the bones to rub together. This leads to pain and decreased mobility in the hips. Typically this type of condition is seen in those over the age of 50.
Injuries can occur in people of all ages depending on the activity. Injuries caused by repetitive movements, such as activities that require frequent squatting or running are generally seen in younger groups, 30s-50s. These injuries often consist of diagnoses like strains and tendonitis. Along with pain, stiffness when sitting for long periods of time is another common symptom. Sports can contribute to a number of these injuries in young and middle age adults, particularly hockey, golf, baseball and long distance running. Labral tears are another common hip injury affecting younger and older age groups. These injuries can occur from a nasty fall or simply from a break down in the joint as we age.
Hip fractures generally occur during a traumatic event. While most hip fractures occur in older populations after a slip and fall due to bone and joint degeneration, they do sometimes occur in younger age groups due to other traumatic events, such as a sports injury or car accident.
How are these conditions diagnosed?
During an initial consultation, your doctor will conduct a history and physical assessment to help pinpoint the cause of your hip pain. X-rays are typically taken to identify evidence of arthritis or rule out a possible fracture. Depending on the injury, an MRI may be ordered to get a better view of the bone, cartilage, muscles and ligaments.
What treatment options are available?
Conservative treatments are used as a first course of action whenever possible. This could include things like rest/inactivity, physical therapy and taking anti-inflammatory medication. Occasionally, hip injections can be used to alleviate pain in those with degenerative conditions. However, if conservative treatment fails or if the injury requires it, surgery may be necessary. A hip arthroscopy can be performed to correct an array of issues at the hip, such as repairing tears or correcting bone deformities. In the case of severe arthritis, causing the bones at the joint to rub together, a hip replacement may be required.
Image by kjpargeter on Freepik