Why Does my Hip Hurt?

Hip conditions are one of the most frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed conditions. If you have been experiencing hip pain yourself, you may unfortunately be familiar with the fact that your doctor cannot find the cause of your pain. Many doctors may simply attribute your hip pain to conditions such as greater trochanteric pain syndrome or osteoarthritis. While these are certainly two potential causes of hip pain, they are not the only things that can cause your hip to hurt. In fact, here are some other conditions that may be causing your hip pain: 

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

FAI occurs when the cartilage in the hip socket has become damaged due to a mismatch between the femur head and the inside of the hip socket. Hip pain caused by FAI is described as being a dull, achy pain inside the hip and along the groin. These symptoms are generally made worse by sitting, using stairs, or performing activities that require hip flexion or rotation. In most cases, FAI only occurs on one side. Your orthopaedist can diagnose FAI by taking x-rays and performing an MRI. This condition can then be treated with physical therapy aimed at strengthening the joint, increasing the range of motion, and increasing spinal flexibility. Oftentimes, stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips can also be beneficial. In some cases, working on balance and abdominal strengthening can also help to reduce symptoms associated with FAI. 

Inflammatory Spondyloarthritis

Inflammatory spondyloarthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes morning stiffness that lasts longer than 30 minutes, pain that worsens with rest and improves with exercise, sleep disturbances in the second half of the night due to back pain, and buttock pain that alternates from one side to the other. This condition is diagnosed by taking x-rays of the sacroiliac joints, as well as a blood test to look for the HLA-B27 gene. Inflammatory spondyloarthritis can be treated through physical therapy that focuses on spinal extension and mobility. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint has begun to deteriorate due to excess stress caused by an acetabulum that is not deep enough to protect the femur head. The most common symptom is a limp, however other symptoms can include a catching or popping sensation and pain that increases while sitting, walking, or participating in strenuous activity. Most of these symptoms start early on in adolescence or adulthood. Depending on age and severity of symptoms, there are various treatments such as physical therapy, bracing, and hip replacement surgery. Approximately 10% of hip replacements are performed due to the joint degeneration caused by hip dysplasia. 

Lumbar Spine Referral

In some cases, your hip pain can actually be caused by a problem in your lumbar spine. Things like inflamed nerves, ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, and disc degeneration can all affect your lumbar spine and cause the pain to radiate down into your hip. When pain occurs in a different location then it originates from this is known as referred pain. In these cases, it is best to correct the spinal condition in order to relieve your hip pain. 

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