Muscles in the front of the hip are complex and include multiple groups carrying out a wide range of actions on the hip. A strained or partially torn hip muscle is a potential cause of hip pain after a sports injury of the hip. The tendons of hip muscles, which attach the muscle to bone, are a common site of damage due to the repetitive stresses on these tissues. Also, numerous ligaments stabilize the hip joint, and each is a potential source of pain and injury.
Beyond Hip Arthritis
Explore non-arthritic causes of hip pain
Common Hip Pain Conditions
Hip Labrum Damage
HIP LABRUM: common cause of hip pain
As the ball of the upper leg bone, or femur, fits into the hip “socket,” there is a sturdy outer ring of tissue that helps stabilize the joint called the hip labrum. This tough ring of labral tissue can become damaged with varying degrees of tears that result in joint instability. As the joint wobbles within the socket, damage to the soft tissues and ultimately the bones themselves occurs. This process often leads directly to osteoarthritis over time, and many millions suffer daily from this degenerative process.
In addition to the above degenerative process, hip labral injuries can cause pain immediately following an injury. Depending on the severity of the labral tear, your symptoms may warrant having an MRI of the hip joint to determine what the next steps should be in treatment. Common symptoms of labral tears include reduced ranges of movement due to pain, popping or clicking of the joint, and general instability of the hip when moving.
Hip Bone Damage
Avascular Necrosis & Osteonecrosis
Hip bone damage referred to medically as osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis, is a potential cause of severe hip pain. Think of this condition as bone death of the hip joint’s ball, which ultimately results in the collapse of the head of the femur bone.
Some common risk factors for developing hip avascular necrosis include trauma, dislocation, fracture, and long-term corticosteroid (cortisone) use. Symptoms are non-specific and include early joint pain, progressive pain, and limited range of motion. Diagnosis is made by having a specialist evaluation, X-rays, CAT scan, and MRI studies. Depending on the severity of the disease and how early it is identified, treatment options vary between surgery-free alternatives and complete removal of the joint. As a result, it is essential to have a specialist evaluate your hip early in the development of hip pain associated with avascular necrosis of the hip.
Sciatica & Sciatic Nerves
Alternate cause of hip pain
Pinched spinal nerves resulting in pain down the hip and or leg are a widespread cause of hip pain. Referred to medically as radiculopathy, radicular pain, or sciatica, it can be difficult for a patient to identify a spinal cause of hip pain without a specialist.
Spinal narrowing and degeneration in the spine can put pressure on nerves that result in hip pain, numbness, or weakness. Patients may experience the pain of a spinal condition in a distant area of the body, such as the hip or knee. Even if you feel no pain in your lumbar spine, this can still be the source of your hip pain. X-rays of the hip are often not helpful in identifying this condition. A simple hip X-ray will not usually diagnose this type of problem. This is another reason it is crucial to have a specialist evaluation with those experienced in treating both the spine and hip joints.
Pain from Hip Muscles, Tendons, and Ligaments
Sacroiliac Joint Pain and the Hip
The sacroiliac joint, or SIJ, can refer pain to the hip area and is commonly confused with problems inside the hip joint. The SI joint is formed by the connection between the sacrum at the base of the spine and the pelvis. This critical area is where the weight of the upper body is transferred down into the legs. The sacroiliac joint is a common source of pain due to the frequent stress placed on this area of the body. A spine and joint pain specialist is experienced in evaluating whether your SI joint is likely related to your hip pain. At Orthobiogen, we commonly see patients that were incompletely assessed and diagnosed with hip problems alone despite SIJ symptoms. Hip pains that travel into the front of your hip, groin region, or very low back, may be directly related to your sacroiliac joint.