Most cases of hip pain in adults that are treated with surgery are caused by osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary greatly from person to person, but if it affects the hip, it will typically cause:
• mild inflammation of the tissues in and around the hip joint
• damage to cartilage – the strong, flexible tissue that lines the bones
• bony growths (osteophytes) that develop around the edge of the hip joint
This can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty doing certain activities.
There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be eased using a number of different treatments. Surgery isn’t usually necessary.
Less common causes
Less commonly, hip pain may be caused by:
• the bones of the hip rubbing together because they’re abnormally shaped – a condition called femoroacetabular impingement
• a tear in the ring of cartilage surrounding the socket of the hip joint – known as a hip labral tear
• hip dysplasia – where the hip joint is the wrong shape, or the hip socket isn’t in the correct position to completely cover and support the top of the leg bone
• a hip fracture – this will cause sudden hip pain and is more common in older people with weaker bones
• an infection in the bone or joint, such as septic arthritis or osteomyelitis – see your GP immediately if you have hip pain and fever
• reduced blood flow to the hip joint, causing the bone to break down – a condition known as osteonecrosis
• inflammation and swelling of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) over your hip joint – a condition called bursitis
• a hamstring injury
• an inflamed ligament in the thigh, often caused by too much running – known as iliotibial band syndrome
When to seek medical advice
Hip pain often gets better on its own, and can be managed with rest and over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
However, see your GP if:
• your hip is still painful after one week of resting it at home
• you also have a fever or rash
• your hip pain came on suddenly and you have sickle cell anaemia
• the pain is in both hips and other joints as well
Go straight to hospital if:
• the hip pain was caused by a serious fall or accident
• your leg is deformed, badly bruised or bleeding
• you’re unable to move your hip or bear any weight on your leg
• you have hip pain with a temperature and feel unwell
If your hip pain is related to exercising or other types of regular activity:
• cut down on the amount of exercise you do if it’s excessive
• always warm up before exercising and stretch afterwards
• try low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling, instead of running
• run on a smooth, soft surface, such as grass, rather than on concrete
• make sure your running shoes fit well and support your feet properly
For more information on hip pain and the various treatment options please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mr Atwal through our appointments page.