Hip Pain & Injury Treatment
As the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body, hips can withstand a lot of repetitive motion. But with age and overuse, the cartilage can wear down, muscles can become exhausted and tendons can weaken. Traumatic falls and other sudden injuries can also cause the hip bone to fracture. These instances can lead to hip pain symptoms that can disrupt every day activities and limit athletic abilities.
Hip injuries don’t favor one age group over another. Adolescent athletes can suffer from overuse or traumatic injuries, while senior adults can experience weakening joints and sudden falls. Access Sports Medicine’s goal is to establish the cause of the hip pain and utilize the least invasive treatment possible to resolve the problem.
Common conditions and injuries that can cause hip pain include:
- FAI (femoral acetabular impingement)
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Labral tears
- Bone fractures
- Cartilage damage
Injuries to the hip may affect the hip socket joint (femoral acetabular joint) or the muscles and ligaments that surround and support the hip socket joint. There are some hip injuries that can become chronic because of wear and tear and degeneration of the hip joint.
Determining the Cause of Hip Pain
The first goal in assessing hip pain is to establish where the problem came from. Was it a sudden trauma? Or has the injury and pain been developing or worsening over time? A physical evaluation is also required to assess the function of the hip joint and any possibly deficits or abnormalities.
Often, a simple problem can develop into something more complex and serious if left untreated. When joint pain and injuries don’t recover after resting, they should be evaluated to determine the severity of the injury and the appropriate treatment.
Hip Pain in Athletes
Overuse injuries such as bursitis and tendinitis can occur in athletes of all ages. Bursitis is an inflammation of the cushion between the muscle and hip bone, and is often seen in high-contact sports like football and ice hockey. Tendinitis can occur in any of the tendons around the hip joint and most frequently impacts athletes like long-distance runners. Athletes can also experience hip stress fractures, labral tears and pulled muscles.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
The severity of the hip pain will determine the exact course of treatment, but many orthopaedic hip injuries can be successfully treated non-surgically with:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Temporary changes in activity
- Biologics and injections
- Physical therapy
- Exercise to strengthen leg muscles
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
Arthroscopic Hip Surgery
For hip pain and injuries that can’t be solved non-surgically, hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical option. In hip arthroscopy, the joint is accessed through small incisions and an arthroscope (small camera) is inserted to take images. The surgeon then uses the images to guide miniature surgical instruments.
Hip arthroscopy can be used to treat many conditions including:
- Labral tears – a tear in the cushioning of the joint.
- Synovitis – inflamed tissues that surround the hip joint.
- Snapping hip syndrome – when a tendon rubs across the outside of a joint.
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) – a condition where an extra bone develops along the acetabulum or the femoral head.