About Hip Pain

The hip joint is a large load-bearing of the lower extremity. It is essentially a ball and socket joint with a deep enclosing socket which allows stability and a smooth range of motion in ambulation. The joint is lubricated with synovial fluid and covered with a tough fibrous capsule.

The most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis.
Synovial joint can become arthritic due to degeneration of the cartilage and excess bony growth either due to age or degeneration and can become inflamed causing pain. The pain from inflamed affected facet joints can cause radiation of symptoms and pain to an area distant from the actual pathology. This is called referred pain as opposed to radicular pain which is caused by the irritation of a large spinal nerve.

Conditions affecting the joint itself are often referred into the groin area.

Pain that is often described on the outside of the hip is usually due to the soft tissues including muscles ligaments tendons and connective tissues.

Overlying the joint and beneath the muscular tendons lies a fluid-filled sac: the bursa. Several ligaments connect the upper part of the femur to the pelvis. In fact, the iliofemoral ligament is the strongest ligament in the body. The main function is to encourage dynamic support taking the entire weight of the upper trunk and body and transmitting that weight to the lower extremities.

The pain is usually worsened with extension and lateral motion of the joint, sitting cross-legged, descending or ascending stairs, and during cold weather.
Diagnoses involve a thorough history and physical as well as proper imaging including CAT scans, x-rays, MRI, electrodiagnostic studies, and blood work in certain cases.

Treatment options include analgesics for temporary pain relief and physical therapy.

Physical therapy includes home exercises to help strengthen and improve the flexibility and range of motion of the joint and associated muscles.

Diagnostic / Therapeutic joint injections with steroids or PRP (Platelets Rich Plasma) therapy, Amniotic fluid may also be effective and augment the effects of oral medication and physical therapy.

If these fail one can be evaluated for their candidacy for surgery.

Asian senior woman with hip joint pain while walking