Hip Pain

Normal function of the hip is vital for all ambulatory individuals. However, the hip is also prone to a variety of disorders partly because it is a complex joint and undergoes a considerable amount of daily wear and tear. Many people develop hip pain at some point in their lives. The hip pain may be due to a problem in the hip itself or from the surrounding structures in the groin area. Hip pain can also be from within the joint like cartilage (which plays a vital role in cushioning against force), tendons, ligaments or the bone itself. While in most cases hip pain is due to a local disorder like osteoarthritis, sometimes hip pain can be due to a problem from elsewhere in the body. This is often known as referred pain. In the majority of cases, hip pain is not an emergency and most cases can be managed at home with supportive measures. However, it is important for the individual to understand that hip pain can also be due to life threatening conditions like infections and this a visit to an SFMMG physician is recommended before one attempts self care treatment.

Hip Pain Symptoms

Due to the proximity and articulation with the low back spinal region and sacrum, the hip pain may mimic some types of low back pain and may be mis-diagnosed and treated as such. We advise all patients with hip and low back pain to schedule an examination with our doctors at SFMMG. We have Orthopedic doctors, Pain Management physicians, Chiropractors, Acupuncturist and Physical therapists that will be able to assess and diagnose your pain properly. The following are some of the most common hip pain diagnoses.

- Avascular necrosis. In this condition there is death of bone due to lack of blood supply. The hip is commonly affected in this condition and it eventually results in bone collapse. The disorder needs lifelong management.

- Bursitis is a painful disorder of the hip where small amount of fluid collect within the joint. Bursitis is most commonly due to frequenting repetitive motions and is often seen in athletes. Treatment involves resting the joint, protecting it from further trauma and pain control.

- Hip dislocation is quite common in elderly individuals. In this disorder the two ends of bone are forced apart. The injury can temporarily immobilize the individual and cause severe pain.

- Hip fractures can occur in any individual but are most common in the elderly. In most cases the cause is osteoporosis or thinning of bone. Hip fractures are serious and can be life threatening. Today, surgery is very effective but recovery can take some time.

- Rheumatoid arthritis of the hip is quiet rare and is more common in children rather than adults. The condition may present with joint pain, swelling and joint stiffness. In most cases, several other joints may also be involved. Treatment is based on controlling pain, improving function and preventing further joint damage.

- Bone cancer is an uncommon cause of hip pain. Several types of bone cancer occur which primarily affect children but in adults, cancer can spread from elsewhere in the body.

- Osteoarthritis of the hip is quite common. The disorder occurs because cartilage in the joint wears down over time. In most cases, osteoarthritis worsens over time and there is no cure. However, there are effective treatments that can help relieve pain, maintain effective mobility and prevent progression.

- Osteoporosis means thin or porous bones that are brittle and weak. Individuals who develop osteoporosis have low levels of calcium are prone to fractures. Although osteoporosis is predominantly seen in women, it also occurs in men. It is never too late to treat osteoporosis. There are many steps one can take to keep bones healthy and strong.

- Tendinitis of the hip occurs because of irritation of the tendons that attach muscle to bone. Tendinitis often occurs in athletes and is associated with pain and limitation of movements. If the tendinitis is severe, it may require surgery. However, the majority of cases of tendinitis can be successfully treated with pain control, rest and physical therapy.

- Sprains and strains are common injuries of the hip. A sprain is a stretching or tearing of the ligaments (a tough tissue that connect one bone to another). In both strains and sprains, the initial treatment is rest, ice, compression bandages and leg elevation. The mild injuries can be treated at home, but more severe injuries may require surgery to repair torn ligaments or tendons. In all cases, physical therapy is an important part of treatment.

- Septic arthritis of the hip joint is quite rare but does occur. In such a condition, bacteria infiltrate the joint and can rapidly induce permanent damage. The majority of individuals will present with pain, fever and an inability to walk. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital if one is to prevent irreversible damage.

- Individuals who have sickle cell anemia have an inherited form of red blood cell disorder. The red blood cells in sickle cell are abnormal in shape and get stuck in blood vessels. Individuals with sickle cell often develop bone and joint pain. Even though there is no cure for sickle ceil anemia, treatments are required to help prevent further joint damage.

- Paget’s disease of bone is a rare disorder whereby there is disordered bone breakdown and formation. This results in bone growth that is abnormal and causes pain. If prompt treatment is not undertaken, then serious complications can result with severe pain.

- Legge calve perthes disease is a hip disorder of childhood. In this disorder, the blood supply to the hip is compromised and the child often presents with pain and a limp. Legge calve perthes disease occurs in between the ages of 2-12 and has excellent prognoses when the treatment is started early.

When to see your doctor

Even though most cases of hip pain are mild and can be managed at home, there are many instances when one should seek the help of a professional health care worker. Medical assistance is recommended if the:

-Hip pain is severe and constant

-If you hear a popping noise each time you walk

-You are unable to bear weight on the affect leg

-Have swelling of the hip area

-There is redness and warmth around the hip joint

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of hip pain requires blood tests and x rays. Plain x-rays, CT scan and MRI are often used to discover the cause of your hip pain. If there is suspicion of an infection, your physician will aspirate the fluid from the joint and analyze it for bacteria. Sometimes a bone scan may be required to determine the type of bone infection and where it is localized.

Treatment

The treatment of hip pain depends on the cause. The initial measures include rest, ice and pain control. However, for hip fractures surgery is required. For sprains and strains, one may require pain control, rest and physical therapy. There are many types of exercises that can be undertaken to help strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion. In some cases of arthritis, patients may benefit from the use of steroid injections. These injections are done at the clinic or doctor's office and are administered once every 4-6 months. The injections can quickly reduce pain and inflammation.

San Francisco Neck Pain Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Due to the proximity and articulation with the low back spinal region and sacrum, the hip pain may mimic some types of low back pain and may be mis-diagnosed and treated as such. We advise all patients with hip and low back pain to schedule an examination with our doctors at SFMMG. We have Orthopedic doctors, Pain Management physicians, Chiropractors, Acupuncturist and Physical therapists that will be able to assess and diagnose your pain properly.