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Hip Pain

Hip pain targets the general area on either side of the pelvis. Pain or problems can be experienced in three different areas and are commonly symptoms of arthritis or bursitis. Both conditions can lead to inflammatory pain and diminished mobility.

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ABOUT THIS CONDITION

Understanding Hip Pain

What is the hip?

The hip is the area on each side of the pelvis. The pelvis bone is made up of three sections:

  • Ilium. The broad, flaring portion of the pelvis.

  • Pubis. The lower, rear part of the pelvis.

  • Ischium. One of the bones that helps form the hip.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and gives stability needed to bear body weight.

The socket area (acetabulum) is inside the pelvis. The ball part of this joint is the top of the thigh bone (femur). It joins with the acetabulum to form the hip joint.

The hip is one of the most stable joints in the body, but because it bears your body weight, it is more likely to develop arthritis because of the extra pressure. Pain in the hip may be caused by injury to muscles, tendons or the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion and lubricate joints.

Common hip problems and their causes

The following are some of the most common hip problems and their various causes:

Arthritis

Arthritis is the most common cause of the breakdown of hip tissue. Three kinds of arthritis commonly affect the hip:

  • Osteoarthritis. This is also referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis. This type of arthritis damages the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip wearing away. This lets the bones then rub together, causing hip pain and stiffness.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis. This disease causes the lining of the joint (synovial membrane) to become irritated and make too much fluid. It damages the cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness.

  • Traumatic arthritis. This is often the result of an injury or fracture. 

Bursitis

In this condition, the fluid-filled sac (bursa) in the joint becomes inflamed. The bursa functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues. There are two major bursae of the hip. Both can cause stiffness and pain around the hip joint:

  • Trochanteric bursa. The bursa that is on the side of the hip and separated from the actual hip joint by tissue and bone.

  • Iliopsoas bursa. The bursa on the inside (groin area) of the hip.

Avascular necrosis

This condition involves death of bone tissue from a lack of blood supply. It can also be caused by injury or bone tumors. It may lead to breakdown of the hip joint.

Hip pointer

A bruise or tear in the muscle that connects to the top of the ilium. The ilium is the crest of the pelvis, just below the waist. Causes of a hip pointer may include a blow, a fall, or a quick twist or turn of the body.

Hip Flexor Pain

The hip flexor is a muscle located in the front of the hip. It helps lift your leg up and down, and also helps stabilize your pelvis. If you have a tight or strained hip flexor, you may experience pain in your hip, groin, or lower back. You may also have trouble moving your leg or walking.

Hip Pain During Pregancy

During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes. Your hips may become loosened and relaxed due to the extra weight and pressure from your growing belly. This can cause pain in your hips, lower back, and legs. If you are experiencing hip pain during pregnancy, there are some things you can do to ease the discomfort.

Exercises and Stretches to Reduce Hip Pain

There are several exercises and stretches that can help reduce hip pain. Try doing these regularly to help keep 

Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with your legs straight. Bend one leg and bring your heel toward your buttocks. Use a towel or strap to help pull your leg closer if needed. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on one knee with your other foot in front of you, keeping your back straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Gluteal stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross one leg over the other, resting your ankle on your knee. Use your hand to grab your thigh and pull your leg toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Piriformis stretch: Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross one leg over the other, placing your ankle on your knee. Use your hand to grab your thigh and pull your leg toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Cat-cow stretch: Start on your hands and knees with your back in a neutral position. As you inhale, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat this 10 times.

Child’s pose: Start on your hands and knees with your feet together and your buttocks resting on your heels. Sit back on your haunches and then walk your hands forward until your forehead touches the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Flatten your lower back against the floor and tuck your chin to your chest. As you exhale, tighten your stomach muscles and tilt your pelvis toward your ribs. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times.

Cobra pose: Lie on your stomach with your feet together and your palms flat on the floor beside your shoulders. As you inhale, lift your head and chest off the floor and look straight ahead. As you exhale, return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Bridge pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides with your palms down. As you inhale, lift your hips off the floor and press your feet into the ground. As you exhale, lower your hips back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. As you inhale, bend your knees and lower your hips toward the floor as if you were going to sit in a chair. As you exhale, press through your heels and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

When to See a Doctor

If your hip pain is severe or persistent, you should see a doctor. You may need medication or other treatment to manage your pain.

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