Common Hip Injuries

Hip injuries can encompass a range of conditions affecting the hip joint, muscles, tendons, or surrounding structures. Common hip injuries include hip fractures, hip dislocations, hip labral tears, bursitis, and strains. These injuries can result from trauma, overuse, degenerative changes, or underlying medical conditions. Symptoms may include hip pain, stiffness, swelling, limited range of motion, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected hip. Treatment for hip injuries typically involves rest, pain management, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgical intervention to repair damaged tissues or address structural issues. Proper diagnosis and management of hip injuries are crucial for restoring function, reducing pain, and preventing long-term complications.

Hip Flexor Strain

Torn or “pulled” muscle/tendon at the front of the hip. Typically caused by suddenly flexing the hip (raising thigh in front of you), especially against resistance; sometimes caused by a fall or sudden twist. Common in sports such as hockey, football and soccer. Symptoms include pain at the front of the hip or in the groin, pain and weakness when flexing your hip, and sometimes swelling. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes physiotherapy, addressing biomechanics such as poor core stability, other types of therapy (e.g., chiropractic, massage therapy), compression shorts, and taping or strapping.

Hip Labral Tear

The labrum is the rim of cartilage (rubbery shock absorber) around the hip socket. The labrum can get injured or torn, typically caused by twist or other hip trauma. Some people are predisposed to labral tears from hip structural abnormalities. Symptoms include pain, decreased range of motion, and mechanical sensations (clicking, catching, snapping, etc.). Besides acute injury management, treatment includes physiotherapy, other types of therapy, special injections and sometimes requires surgery.

man holding hip

Femeroacetabular Impingement

Pinching between the bones in the hip joint, usually related to structural or anatomic abnormalities. Predisposes to hip labral tears (LINK) and possibly osteoarthritis later in life. More common in some sports such as hockey. Symptoms include pain, decreased range of motions, stiffness and sometimes mechanical sensations (e.g., clicking, popping, catching). Treatment initially includes physiotherapy, core and gluteal strengthening program, manual therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, but may require surgery to correct the underlying structural problem.

Snapping Hip Syndrome

Clicking, snapping or popping sensation that is felt or heard at the front of the hip or groin. Typically caused by tendons snapping over bony bumps or prominences in the hip when you actively move the hip. Symptoms include snapping (or popping or clicking) which sometimes is painful and may result in weakness in trying to flex the hip. Treatment includes physiotherapy to address core and pelvis weakness, manual therapy (e.g., massage therapy and chiropractic) to loosen tight muscles and tendons, as well as anti-inflammatory measure if appropriate.

Trochanteric Bursitis

Inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sac) at the outer (lateral) side of the hip. Caused by repetitive weight-bearing activities such as running and walking, overuse, and direct trauma to the lateral hip. Symptoms include lateral hip pain, pain on contact, and sometimes swelling. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes physiotherapy, core and gluteal strengthening, massage therapy, chiropractic, topical anti-inflammatories, and specialized injections.

Fracture

A break in the femur bone (femoral neck) of the hip. Occurs with trauma, often a fall in people who are elderly. More likely to occur if you have low bone density. Pain in groin area, pain elsewhere around the hip, inability to weight bear, difficulty moving the hip, and swelling. Besides acute management, treatment includes support and immobilization, non-weightbearing, and typically requires surgery.

Osteoarthritis

Degeneration of the knee cartilage layer which acts like a shock absorber. Contributing factors include older age, previous serious injuries, heredity/genetics, and certain professions or activities that put abnormal straining on the hip. Symptoms include pain (often in the groin area), mechanical symptoms (e.g., grinding, catching, clicking), stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Treatment is multi-factorial and includes losing excessive weight, gluteal and core strengthening, appropriate low impact exercise, pain medication and creams, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, bracing, supplements, injections and may eventually require hip replacement surgery if severe.

Gluteal tendonitis or tears

inflammation or tearing of the tendons at the outside (lateral) part of the hip. Typically caused by overuse with weight-bearing exercise, other repetitive motions or activities, and often related to gluteal muscle and core weaknesses. May be exacerbated by sudden twists or trauma. Often associated with trochanteric bursitis (LINK). Symptoms include pain at the lateral side of the hip, pain with weight-bearing activities, sometimes pain with direct contact. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes physiotherapy, core and gluteal strengthening, massage therapy, chiropractic, topical anti-inflammatories, and specialized injections.

lady in purple outfit holding her hip

Stress Fracture

Microscopic cracks in the femur bone of the ankle caused by overuse and repetitive stress on the bone. Typically seen in physical activities that involve a lot of running and jumping. Symptoms include pain (typically felt in the groin area), stiffness, and difficulty weight-bearing. People with nutritional disorders and/or who have low bone density are pre-disposed to getting stress fractures. Hip stress fractures are especially serious and may have severe complications. Treatment often require a period of non-weightbearing and may require surgery to stabilize the stress fracture. Treatment after the stress fracture heals, typically involves physiotherapy any biomechanical problems to prevent recurrences. Treatment also requires correcting running and jumping technique issues, training adjustments and optimizing nutrition and bone health.

Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis)

A serious condition that involves poor blood supply to the hip joint which then leads to weakening and crumbling of the bone tissue. May be associated with injury or trauma, long-term use of corticosteroid (cortisone) medications, hip fractures, and certain medical conditions. Associated with long-term complications such as osteoarthritis (LINK). Symptoms include pain (typically in the groin area), stiffness, and difficulty doing weight-bearing activities. Treatment includes physiotherapy, core and gluteal strengthening, modifying your weight-bearing activities appropriately to allow bone healing, sometimes non-weightbearing, and may require surgery.

Individual treatments may vary based on the specific diagnosis and severity of the injury. Seeking professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan is recommended for optimal recovery.

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