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An overview of hip pain

Find out more about the causes and treatment options for hip pain

If you're suffering with hip pain, this section is for you. Read on for an overview of the hip joint, common symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment options.

Find out why some people get hip pain at night, and more about hip pain during pregnancy. 

Wondering who to see about your hip problem? We can help.

We have an expert team of hip consultants and physiotherapists who can help to diagnose and treat hip pain, so simply book online today to start your recovery.

The hip joint is formed by a socket in the pelvis (known as the acetabulum) and a ball structure at the end of the thigh-bone (known as the femoral head).

The hip joint is designed to withstand significant stress over your lifetime and for this reason has a large weight-bearing surface, due to a very deep socket structure, to aid stability.

A thick soft tissue structure, formed by what is known as the joint capsule as well as strong gluteal muscles, reinforce the hip joint’s stability.

You may experience severe hip pain, shooting pain in hip, hip pain after running or hip pain cycling. You may have lateral hip pain, outer hip pain, pain in both hips, left hip pain or right hip pain.

As well as needing this stability, the hip joints also need a certain degree of flexibility and strength when moving through a large range of movements. Many examples of hip pain can be attributable to when this need for hip joint stability versus the need for a large range of motion gets to an unbalanced state.

Degenerative joint conditions and impingement syndromes may often affect the hip joints, leading to pain and associated joint stiffness. It is clear that there is a fundamental genetic component to developing these conditions, but some forms of activity and exercise habits may also play a role in stiffening the hip and contribute to these conditions developing.

In situations where the hips are too stiff, you may find everyday tasks such as sitting for long periods or transiting movements such as sitting to standing, and getting in and out of a car, lead to hip pain. Sporting activities or hip injury from these may also begin to cause hip pain, with squatting movements as well as lateral and rotational movements becoming painful.

Conversely, structural abnormalities may develop from birth or in early childhood, which can reduce the amount of hip joint stability. The most common example is a condition known as hip dysplasia.

Owing to their bodies producing slightly different forms of soft tissue to form joints capsules and ligaments, others may simply have genetically very flexible joints (often referred to as hypermobility). These individuals may naturally tend to take to sports involving significant degrees of flexibility, such as dance and martial arts.

However, when doing sports requiring very repetitive impact work or high degrees of stability, such as long distance running or rugby, they may begin to develop hip region pain. These forms of hip pain may often be related to the muscles and tendons which support the hip joint, and struggle to maintain appropriate levels of stability when performing these higher-level tasks.

Like many orthopaedic and musculoskeletal areas, various forms of hip pain may be treated successfully with non-invasive measures such as physiotherapy supervised exercise programs.

Anti-inflammatory injections are rarely used for treating hip joint conditions but may be used to treat some conditions affecting the soft tissue around the area. 

Hip surgery is a growing area of practice, with the vast majority of surgical procedures being needed to replace severely arthritic hip joints.

Exercise for hip pain and stretches for hip pain can help tackle pain and stiffness in your hip joint and strengthen the muscles around your hip.

As well as keeping your joint healthy, the NHS adds keeping active and doing strength training can assist with weight loss and maintain your overall health by reducing your risk of developing particular health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and stroke. 

We explore which hip exercises are recommended for different hip conditions and how you could benefit. 

Whether you have pain in the groin, at the side of the hip or are preparing for or recovering from hip surgery, physiotherapy can be extremely helpful.

Nobody wants to be in pain for any longer than necessary. Long-term or severe hip pain can make so many aspects of life more challenging or frustrating.

If you’d like to meet with an experienced hip Consultant for help treating your hip pain, please book your appointment online today. We are here to help you.

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