The Real Truth About Hip Pain

Do you have pain in your hip that limits your ability to walk, put on your shoes and socks, work, or enjoy your life?

Do you have sharp, shooting, or a dull achy pain in your hip, groin, thigh, knee or buttocks?

Do you have stiffness in your hip joint which is worse after sleeping or sitting?

Do you have difficulty or pain when getting out of bed, standing up from a sitting position, or climbing stairs?

If so, you may have hip osteoarthritis. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, hip osteoarthritis is inflammation of the hip joint, a condition that is more likely to develop as people age. Osteoarthritis results when injury or inflammation in a joint causes the soft, shock-absorbing cartilage that lines and cushions the joint surfaces to break down.  Muscle weakness, being overweight, previous injury and hip joint instability are thought to contribute to the deterioration of cartilage. When the cartilage is damaged, the joint can become painful and swollen. Over time, this condition can cause stiffness and even more hip pain.

How can Physical Therapy help?

Your Physical Therapist will evaluate your body to determine where your deficits lie whether it be loss of motion, decreased strength, poor balance, or just pain in the hip.  They will then differentiate if it is truly just hip involvement or whether the back, knee, and ankle for example play a role in your pain.  He or she may recommend that you consult with an orthopedist, who can order diagnostic testing such as an x-ray or MRI, to confirm the diagnosis.  Together you and your therapist will then determine a treatment plan and get you back to your normal daily activities.

Your physical therapist can use different types of treatments and technologies to control and reduce your pain, including manual (hands-on) therapy techniques, taping, ice, heat, infrared, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.  They may offer an assistive device such as a cane or crutch to help off load the affected joint.

As your hip pain and inflammation settles, your therapist will turn their attention to restoring your normal hip joint range of motion, muscle length and resting tension, muscle strength and endurance, proprioception, balance and proper walking pattern.