Black Swan Osteopathy & Podiatry

Hip Pain

Causes of Hip Pain and How to Ease it

Hip pain can be excruciating at times. If you have it, then you might want to know the cause of your hip pain and how to ease it.

What are the symptoms of hip pain?

The hip joint is one that is used on a daily basis for almost everybody, because it moves almost constantly no matter what type of movement we are making. Although the joint is built to be able to cope with all of the activities that we do, over time the cartilage may become damaged and this means that it may wear down and result in some pain. The main symptom of hip pain is some level of discomfort, and you could experience this in the following areas of the body:

  • Pain in your thigh, inside or outside the hip joint, groin or buttocks
  • Stiffness in your hip or lower back
  • Clicking in your hip
  • Reduced movement in your hip joint

When should you seek help  from an osteopath or doctor for your hip pain?

If you find that you are in constant pain whenever you are trying to walk, and it is having a clear negative effect on your day to day quality of life, you should always try to do something about your hip pain. Sometimes, you might find that there are things that you could do at home to help yourself, but at other times the only thing that you will be able to do is see your osteopath.

  • If your hip appears misshapen
  • You are unable to move your leg or hip or it feels restricted
  • You are unable to put much or any weight onto the affected leg
  • Sharp pain
  • Any swelling

What could be causing your hip pain?

The hip joint is designed to withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.

Hip pain is common and is caused by a wide variety of problems. The precise location of your hip pain can provide valuable clues about the underlying cause.

Problems within the hip joint itself tend to result in pain on the inside of your hip or your groin. Hip pain on the outside of your hip, upper thigh or outer buttock is usually caused by problems with either the lower back or the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues that surround your hip joint. If your hip pain is caused by conditions in other areas of your body, such as your lower back or your knees then this is called is called referred pain. Of course it is often a combination of more than one thing so it is very important to get your hip pain diagnoses. Confused? Our osteopaths are experts in the field of diagnosing and treating hip pain and can often help you self-manage and treat it yourself at home too.

You should, of course, always try to visit your osteopath if you are suffering from hip pain, because this means that they would be able to get to the bottom of what is causing it. In incredibly rare cases, hip pain can be a sign of cancer, so any pain that does not go away should always be investigated.

  • Hip Arthritis – There are several types of arthritis, the most common type is the ‘wear and tear’ type, also called osteoarthritis and will get worse with age. Generally if you have had lots of trauma to your hip this wear and tear might be accelerated but the wear and tear can also be managed and maintained by specific strength and flexibility exercises. Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and septic arthritis which need specialist medical care.
  • Piriformis Syndrome – Your piriformis muscle is located in the back of your hip and it can cause problems when it gets too tight, causing pain into the hip joint and
  • Injuries
    • Bursitis – A fluid filled sac that helps to cushion musle tendons and ligaments from the bone. If they become inflamed they swell up and become very painful. There is more than one bursa that can be affected in your hip but your osteopath can help diagnose this for you.
    • Hamstring or Gluteal muscle injury – An injury to one of the muscles around the hip alter the way you are able to use it and cause additional pain and stiffness in the joint alongside the pain of the muscle injury itself.
    • Dislocation – Unusual as your hip is generally very stable but in some cases this stability has been compromised.
    • Hip Fracture – More common than dislocation and should always be monitored due to the blood flow to the hip.
    • Hip Labral Tear – The labrum of the hip helps to increase the stability of the joint but unfortunately it leaves it vulnerable to tearing, causing a pinching hip pain and sometimes clicking.
    • Inguinal Hernia – This gives you referred pain into the hip and groin because part of the abdominal wall has weakened and allowed some
  • Pinched nerves
    • Herniated vertebral disc in your back
    • Sciatica
    • Spinal Stenosis
  • Cancer
    • Advanced cancer where it has spread to the bones
    • Bone cancer
    • Leukaemia
  • Other problems
    • Avascular Necrosis
    • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
    • Osteomyelitis
    • Osteoporosis
    • Rickets (softening on the bones due to a vitamin deficiency)
    • Sinovitis

What can you do at home?

What can you do at home but please bear in mind that you should always get a diagnosis for why your knee pain is there, it will save you time and pain doing unnecessary exercises.

  • Start your day with exercise – this gets your blood flowing and your muscles stretched. Light, low impact exercise such as Pilates or yoga are best to avoid aggravating any hip symptoms.
  • Use an Ice Pack – Ice will help take hip pain and stiffness away by reducing swelling that is associated with inflammation caused by arthritis or bursitis or other acute injury to your hip.
  • Use heat if you have osteoarthritis – Make sure there is no active inflammation at the same time as otherwise the heat can make your pain worse.
  • Stretching – Gentle stretching of the muscles around your hip can help improve mobility of the joint and reduce the pain and stiffness.
  • Strengthen your leg and pelvic muscles – improving stability in your legs can improve the weight that loads into your hips, pelvis and lower back, making it more efficient and allowing you to offload the hip joint itself.
  • Avoid high impact exercises such as running – cycling and swimming are fantastic low impact exercise alternatives that can help improve the mobility of your hips and strengthen the muscles around the hip joint while you recover.
  • Lose weight – the lower the load that is going through your hip joints the less strain they will have to take.

If you know that the pain in your hip is being caused by either a sporting injury or osteoarthritis, you should find that you can get some relief from using pain killers that can be bought over the counter from your local pharmacy or supermarket. You may find that you can get some relief by pressing ice onto the affected area for ten minutes a few times per day. If you are able to, you should try to get plenty or gentle exercise, but take care not to over-do it as this may exacerbate your pain.

In general, although hip pain can be quite common – particularly with ageing – you should find that there are ways in which you can improve your condition at home. Doing so will have a positive impact on your quality of life, so it is certainly worth trying to seeing what you are able to do.

If hip pain is ongoing then you should get in touch with us for a free consultation about how osteopathy can help.