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Three Common Hip Problems and How PT Can Help

hip problems

By: Angie Austin, LPTA

Hip problems make daily activities like simply walking difficult and painful. When you talk to your physical therapist or doctor about your hip pain, it’s important to be able to describe exactly where your pain is located. This helps confirm that your hip is actually the problem. It’s not uncommon for us to hear a patient say ‘my hip hurts’ and then once we’ve done a full evaluation of their area of pain, we find they actually are having a back-related problem. Symptoms located in the upper buttocks or upper thigh may be due to a lower back issue. Hip pain is often felt in the groin or on the outside of the hip directly where the joint is located.

Most of the common causes of hip pain are due to wear and tear and overuse. This means that most hip problems are the result of repetitive movements we do on a daily basis. Because this joint is necessary for weight bearing activities like standing, walking and running, it can be a source of pain among all ages – not just the older population. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we treat many younger athletes  for hip pain for example.

So what are the three most common causes of hip pain?

  1. Arthritis: Chronic hip pain is often due to arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. This is the ‘wear and tear’ kind of pain that affects many people as they age. The ball and socket joint in the hip starts to wear out. Arthritis pain is often felt in the front of your thigh or in the groin, because of stiffness or swelling in the joint. As the joint continues to degenerate or ‘wear away’ many individuals are faced with the option of undergoing total hip replacements.
  2. Hip fractures: Hip fractures are most commonly the result of a traumatic event such as a fall. In many cases, hip fractures require surgery. Fractures can also be common among older women because they often have decreased bone density (osteoporosis). Symptoms of a hip fracture include the inability to lift or pull weight on the injured side.
  3. Tendinitis and bursitis: ‘Itis’ refers to inflammation. There are many tendons that attach muscles to the hip. These can become inflamed when they are overused. Repetitive and strenuous activity such as running can result in types of hip tendonitis like IT Band Syndrome. ‘Bursitis’ refers to an inflamed bursa. The bursa is the fluid-filled sack that can be found on the bony surfaces and act as a cushion. When you perform activities that require repetitive hip movements, the bursa can become irritated and this results in pain.

So how can physical therapy help all these conditions and any other problems in your hips? Through targeted stretching and strengthening exercises as well as manual therapy, physical therapy an improve the following:

  • Hip flexibility
  • Hip joint mobility
  • Hip range of motion
  • Hip strength

Physical therapy will also teach you proper movement patterns to ensure proper alignment and resolve or prevent hip problems that are negatively affecting your life. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our physical therapists will fully evaluate your hip and associated symptoms and help restore your full function and get you back to your normal lifestyle. CALL 703-450-4300 TODAY and schedule your evaluation with one of our physical therapists we can address your hip problems. 

CLICK HERE for a short video on how physical therapy can address aches and pains.