The hip is a ball-and-socket joint where the femur (thighbone) meets the pelvis. The top of the femur has a rounded head that fits into a cup-like socket in the pelvis called the acetabulum. Most of us don’t think twice about our hips when they are working properly. However, when we experience hip pain or stiffness, our entire lives can be put on hold.
Causes of Hip Pain
If your hips are stiff and sore, here are a few things that may be causing your discomfort:
Arthritis of the hip is the most common cause of degeneration. Osteoarthritis, also referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis, damages cartilage. If this arthritis progresses far enough, it can cause bone to rub on bone, leading to hip pain and stiffness. Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes the lining of the joint to become irritated and produce too much fluid. This can damage the cartilage, which can also lead to pain and stiffness.
A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between moving tissues in the body. When a bursa becomes inflamed, it is known as bursitis. The two major bursae of the hip include the trochanteric bursa and the ischial bursa. Inflammation of these two sacs can be associated with stiffness and pain around the hip joint.
Muscle or Ligament Strain
A hip strain or sprain occurs when a muscle or ligament that supports the hip is overstretched or torn. Pain from a muscle strain or ligament sprain typically intensifies with increased activity. One may also feel swelling, tenderness, stiffness, muscle spasms and bruising along the hip. Common causes of a hip strain or sprain include:
- Over stretching the muscles and ligaments in the hip
- Insufficient warm-up prior to an activity
- Pushing the body beyond its limits
Tendons connect muscles to bones. When a thick band of tissue becomes inflamed, irritated or swollen, it can cause discomfort, swelling and pain. Hip tendonitis is typically caused by injury, strain or overuse, including too much exercise.
If your hip pain is caused by any of the above conditions, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
If you still experience hip pain after several months of conservative care, contact our multi-specialty team at Comprehensive Medical Care to find relief. Call 732-352-3559 to schedule your appointment today!