6 Causes of achy hips

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6 Causes of achy hips

Believe it or not, hip pain does not just affect older adults. Plenty of younger adults can also find themselves complaining of achy hips. The question is often, why?  Other than having had a direct injury to the hip, such as playing sports or being in an accident, hip pain can have numerous causes having nothing to do with trauma to this area.  Let’s take a look at 6 possible causes of hips to hurt and what can be done about it.

1. Osteoarthritis

This is one of the most common causes of hip discomfort, often described as a dull ache accompanied by stiffness and a reduced range of motion. Osteoarthritis tends to show up in people past the age of 45 and is what leads to inflammation of the hip joint and breakdown of cartilage that cushions the hip bones. Over time, the pain can get worse. People who were highly active at younger ages – running marathons or playing high-impact sports like basketball – can increase their risk of developing osteoarthritis. Obesity and traumatic injury can also be a common cause of this malady.

What can be done: First, see your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis. Rest, ice, steroids and over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications, all can help alleviate pain. More aggressive treatments include stem cell therapy and surgery for a total hip replacement.

2. Bursitis

Bursae are sacs of liquid found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons.  They ease the friction from these tissues rubbing together. When bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain. Inflammation of bursae is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint. Bursitis becomes common with age and is especially prevalent in people over the age of 60.

What can be done: Rest and putting compresses on the area along with taking anti-inflammatory and pain medications can bring temporary relief. Cortisone shots may need to be given if home treatments are not taking the pain away or the pain is getting worse.

3.  Tendonitis

Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse.  Soccer players who may kick a ball over and over, are more at risk for this pain. To know if you have tendonitis, if you’re active and your hip flexor (the group of muscles that lets you bring you knee and leg toward your body) or groin are tender when you touch or move them.

What can be done: Treatment for tendonitis is the same as for bursitis.

4.  Hip labral tears

The labrum is the ring of cartilage that surrounds the hip socket and ensures the ball of the thighbone stays in place. When it tears – typically in athletes and ballerinas – it causes pain in the hip or groin limiting movement, and creates a sensation that the hip is locking, catching or clicking. 

What can be done: A type of minimally invasive surgery is used to repair the labrum and shave down the misshaped bone. The procedure helps correct the hip’s alignment, relieving pain and protecting the joint.

5. Hip Impingement

For those who participate in high-intensity activities, such as Crossfit or barre classes, these activities can cause the hip bone to fuse in an abnormal shape limiting movement. This is called hip impingement or femoral acetabular impingement. This painful condition can lead to increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.

What can be done:  Physical therapy can help and is often the first line of treatment. It is possible that surgery may be necessary to move the hipbones to unlock them. 

6.  Core muscle injury

Having pain in the groin area could be a core muscle injury, such as a strain or tear of muscles or other soft tissues in the lower abdomen. This injury is common in people who avoid exercise during the week, making them not as athletically conditioned, but then play a lot of sports involving extreme twisting and turning on the weekends.

What can be done: Resting the affected muscles for several weeks can help. If the muscle has been torn, you may require surgery to repair it.

How to keep your hips healthy

To prevent hip pain, do the following:

·      Reach a healthy body weight

·      Stretch or do yoga regularly

·      Strengthen your core muscles

·      Get annual check-ups

·      Exercise regularly, but make sure to do exercises that are appropriate for your age and physical condition

Get medical help right away if you have any of the following:

·      The hip pain came on suddenly

·      A fall or other injury trigger the hip pain

·      Your joint looks deformed or is bleeding

·      You heard a popping noise in the joint when your injured it

·      The pain is intense

·      You can’t put any weight on your hip

·      You can’t move your leg or hip