Hip Pain & Injury

john miller physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

What Causes Hip Pain?

Hip pain is common and spread across all age groups. The hip joint and its integration with your pelvis, SIJ and lumbar spine (lower back) make it a complex region to correctly analyse and assess any dysfunction.

hip-pain

The Older Hip

If you are in the older population group, you will be more vulnerable to age-related hip issues such as hip arthritis, trochanteric bursitis and GTPS (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome). Functional limitations could include simply walking, sit to stand, single leg standing, stairs or even sleeping in severe cases.

Hip pain can also be associated with reduced balance. A thorough balance assessment may be required to predict a falls risk. Falls prevention exercises may be prescribed by your physiotherapist to address any individual deficits. They may even advise you to utilise a walking assistance device such as a walking stick, crutches or a walking frame.

The Sporting Hip

Younger sports-related hip issues may come on after prolonged running, jumping or landing activities. Specific sporting hip conditions should be discussed and thoroughly assessed by your hip physiotherapist. Biomechanical deficits and subtle hip weakness that may only show on a slow-motion video are just two of the potential causes of sporting hip injuries.

Groin Pain

Groin pain is one of the most common symptoms associated with hip joint pathologies such as hip osteoarthritis and hip labral injury. There are also many other causes of groin pain that need to be excluded by a health professional.  More info: Groin Pain.

Only after a thorough hip assessment will your hip pain be effectively rehabilitated to relieve your current hip pain and joint dysfunction, plus prevent the return of any future hip pain.

Hip Pain Assessment

The successful treatment of your hip pain requires a thorough and accurate assessment of your: 

  • entire lower limb (foot, ankle, knee, hip, groin)
  • lumbar spine
  • pelvis and SIJ function and alignment
  • deep hip muscle control and activation patterns
  • middle and superficial hip muscle control, strength and function
  • deep abdominal, core and pelvic floor muscle control
  • upper thigh muscle length and strength (e.g. quadriceps, adductors, hamstrings, and ITB)
  • neural tissue extensibility e.g. sciatic and femoral nerve
  • hip joint biomechanics.

Your hip pain can and often is related to your whole lower limb biomechanics and function. Your assessment should include a functional assessment of your knee, foot and ankle joints, plus your thigh and calf muscles. They all contribute to your hip function.

For specific advice regarding your hip pain, please seek the advice of your physiotherapist who has a special interest in hip pain and related injuries.

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Common Sources of Hip Pain

General Information

Hip Joint Pain

Lateral Hip Pain

Adductor-related Groin Pain

Pubic-related Groin Pain

Inguinal-related Groin Pain

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Sportsman's hernia

Iliopsoas-related Groin Pain

  • Hip Flexor Strain

Other Muscle-related Pain

Systemic Diseases

Referred Sources

Hip Surgery

What is the Best Treatment for Hip Pain?

A thorough analysis of WHY you actually suffering hip pain from a movement, posture, or a control aspect, is vital to solving your hip pain.

Only an accurate diagnosis of the source of your hip pain can solve the pain, quickly improve your day to day function, prevent a future recurrence,  or improve your athletic performance.

Symptomatic treatment has traditionally been the first choice of short-term treatment. This could include local chemical modalities such as cortisone injections or painkillers. Ice or heat could also assist along with some gentle stretching or exercise.

However, persisting hip problems will require additional investigations to assess your joint integrity or range of motion, muscle length, strength, endurance, power, contraction timing and dynamic stability control.

Your healthcare practitioner who has a special interest in hip pain and injury management should be consulted to thoroughly assess your hip, groin, pelvis, lower limb and spine. Due to the kinetic chain, they all have an impact, especially at the high athletic performance end. A quality practitioner will specifically educate you regarding your condition and combine with exercise and/or manual therapy as per the Clinical Practice Guidelines. (Cibulka et al., 2017) Hip pain education should also include teaching you specific activity modification, individualised exercises, weight-loss advice (if required), and methods to unload any arthritic joints.

Recent research evidence-backed approaches have modernised physiotherapy treatment approaches to effectively managing hip pain. Together with a thorough hip assessment, your hip treatment can progress quickly to restore you to a pain-free hip and perform your normal sport or daily activities in the shortest time possible.

For specific rehabilitation advice regarding your hip pain, seek the professional advice of a high quality and up-to-date physiotherapist, who is experienced in the assessment, treatment, prevention and optimisation of hip pain and related conditions. After assessing you they will individually prescribe therapeutic activities based on your specific needs for daily living, values, and functional activities or point you in the direction of the most suitable healthcare practitioner for you and your hip condition. 

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Hip Injuries

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Hip Pain Treatment Options

Your hip physiotherapist may consider an extensive range of treatment options including manual joint therapy to improve your joint mobility, muscle stretches or supportive taping. Your physiotherapist is also likely to add strengthening and joint control exercises as they deem appropriate for your specific functional and sporting needs.

Please click the links below for more information about some of the common hip treatments that your physiotherapist may recommend or utilise for your hip pain.

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Core Exercises
  • Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
  • Active Foot Posture Correction Exercises
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Orthotics
  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Brace or Support
  • Dry Needling
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Neurodynamics
  • Prehabilitation
  • Running Analysis
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • Yoga
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    Hip Pain FAQs

  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • What is Pain?
  • Physiotherapy & Exercise
  • Massage Styles and their Benefits
  • What Causes Post-Exercise Muscular Pain?
  • Can Kinesiology Taping Reduce Your Swelling and Bruising?
  • Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good?
  • How Do You Improve Your Balance?
  • Post-Run Soreness: Should You Be Concerned?
  • Running Recovery: 6 Helpful Tips
  • Sports Injury? What to do? When?
  • What are Growing Pains?
  • What are the Common Massage Therapy Techniques?
  • What are the Early Warning Signs of an Injury?
  • What Can You Do To Help Arthritis?
  • What is a TENS Machine?
  • What is Chronic Pain?
  • What is Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy?
  • What is Nerve Pain?
  • What is Sports Physiotherapy?
  • What is the Correct Way to Sit?
  • What to expect when you visit PhysioWorks?
  • What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?
  • What's Your Core Stability Score?
  • Why do your Joints Click?
  • Why Kinesiology Tape Helps Reduce Swelling and Bruising Quicker
  • References

    Cibulka, M., Bloom, N., Enseki, K., Macdonald, C., Woehrle, J. and McDonough, C. (2017). Hip Pain and Mobility Deficits—Hip Osteoarthritis: Revision 2017. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 47(6), pp.A1-A37.

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    Last updated 22-Aug-2018 02:57 PM

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