Hip Joints – Stiffness & Pain
Hip pain is the general term for pain felt in or around the hip joint. It isn’t always felt in the hip itself but may instead be felt in the groin or thigh. Hips are no joke – they have one of the highest range of motion of any joint in the body, second only to the shoulder, and they give us the ability to walk, stand, and support our own weight. The hip joint is a ball and socket where the head of the femur meets a hollow in the pelvis. Both socket in the pelvis – called the acetabulum – and the femur are lined with cartilage that allow the bones to glide across each other smoothly. As we age and the cartilage begins to thin, our hips become vulnerable to stiffness, soreness, and pain.
Causes of Hip Pain
Hip pain may be caused by arthritis, injuries or other problems.
Hip Joint Pain from Arthritis – Hip pain can vary depending on the degree and nature of the joint degeneration, the patient’s physical condition (such as weight and fitness level), and the patient’s individual perception of pain.
Hip fractures – With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to break during a fall.
Muscle strain – Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When they become inflamed due to overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from working normally.
Bursitis – Bursae are fluid-filled sacs found about your joints. They surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones. The lubrication they add helps reduce friction during movement. Bursitis is an inflammation of your bursae. Inflamed bursae cause pain and discomfort in the affected location. They also limit the ways you can move your joints.
Tendons – Tendons are thick cords that join your muscles to your bones. When tendons become irritated or inflamed, the condition is called tendinitis. Tendinitis causes acute pain and tenderness, making it difficult to move the affected joint. Any tendon can develop tendinitis, but you’re more likely to develop it in your shoulder, knee, elbow, heel, or wrist.
Dislocations – A dislocation occurs when a bone slips out of a joint. For example, the top of your arm bone fits into a joint at your shoulder. When it slips or pops out of that joint, you have a dislocated shoulder. You can dislocate almost any joint in your body, including your knee, hip, ankle, or shoulder.
Common Hip Complaints
Hip pain is so common in adults over 50 that a lot of us accept hip pain as an inevitable part of getting older. Because hips play such a vital role in our everyday mobility, even mild hip pain can feel unbearably debilitating. Soreness and inflammation in the hips can also be felt in the groin, the front of the thigh, and the lower back. The good news is, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make now to avoid disability or hip replacement surgery in the future.
Treatment for hip pain
Rest. The surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the hip joint can tire, placing more pressure on the joint. Resting the hip can ease this type of pain.
Gentle/moderate activity. Gentle activity can relieve the pain and stiffness caused by prolonged rest. When the hip joint is used, synovial fluid is secreted, lubricating and delivering nutrients to the joint.
Medical treatment. Medical treatment for hip pain can include any combination of physical therapy, aqua-therapy and weight loss to name a few. Hip surgery can often be avoided. It is important to have pain in your back, hips or legs evaluated by a physician so that a proper treatment plan can be made.