4 Common Hip Injuries and Their Symptoms

Hip injuries may not get as much media attention as knee injuries, but that doesn’t mean they’re not common. In fact, evidence suggests hip injuries actually are becoming more common among athletes of all levels – and even among people who aren’t involved in sports. Regardless of the underlying cause, hip injury symptoms can be painful – and they can take a big toll on your quality of life. Here are a few of the most common hip injuries you should be aware of.

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

Femoroacetabular impingement or FAI derives its name from the femur (or thigh bone) and the acetabulum, the saucer-shaped portion of the pelvis that “cradles” the head of the femur to form the hip joint. In FAI, hard growths of bony material called bone spurs form along the surface of the bones, increasing friction inside the joint, which in turn causes pain and makes normal movements difficult and uncomfortable.

Hip Labral Tear

The labrum is a tough ring of cartilage that encircles the hip joint, keeping the joint components “inline” while promoting normal movement. Hip Labral tears can be caused by:

  • traumatic injury;
  • repetitive movement or overextension of the joint;
  • abnormal anatomy – specifically, an abnormality in the shape of the joint that causes excess strain on the labrum.

Sometimes, FAI and labral tears occur together.

Osteitis Pubis

When muscles are repeatedly pulled over the front of the hip joint, a condition known as osteitis pubis can arise. Osteitis pubis is the inflammation of the pubic symphysis—also known as the pubic bone. Osteitis pubis often occurs when there is inflammation where the left and right pubic bones meet in the lower pelvis.

Osteitis pubis tends to develop when overdoing an activity, especially an activity that involves running or jumping.  If exercises become painful, it is important to refrain from these activities, as they may exacerbate their symptoms. Symptoms of osteitis pubis can include pain while lying on the side, pain while walking, and a clicking sound when changing direction. Athletes who take long strides for extended periods of time are most susceptible to this type of injury (i.e., soccer players and long-distance runners).

While rest is important to recovery, treating symptoms is important as well. If you are experiencing hip pain symptoms from osteitis pubis, applying a cold pack that is wrapped directly to the joint may relieve symptoms.

Abductor Tear

Hip abductors are part of a major group of muscles located in the buttocks. These muscles include the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and tensor fascia muscles.

Your hip abductor muscles move your leg laterally away from your body and also aid in the rotation of the hip. Abductor tears are associated most often with high-impact sports, running, and impact-related accidents and they also become more common with age-related degenerative changes in the hip joint.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strains almost always occur as a result of overuse or repetitive use, and failure to “warm up” prior to activity is a major contributing cause. While a strain may not be as “serious” as, say, a tissue tear, without prompt treatment, it can cause weakness and instability which, in turn, can significantly increase your risk for more serious injuries.

Hip Injuries & Their Symptoms

Depending on the cause and extent of the injury, hip injury symptoms can vary in terms of severity, frequency and location. The most common symptoms of any hip injury include:

  • pain in and around the hip joint, sometimes radiating into the leg, groin, or buttocks
  • stiffness or reduced range of motion when attempting to move the joint
  • joint instability and pain when attempting to bear weight on the joint or rotate the joint
  • clicking, grinding, sticking or “popping” sensations, especially with labral tears and femoroacetabular impingement

Treatment of Hip Injuries

Today, many hip injury symptoms can be treated using a minimally-invasive approach called hip arthroscopy. In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions near the hip joint, then inserts a special instrument equipped with an even tinier camera. The camera captures real-time images inside and around the joint, and the surgeon uses those images to guide the surgery, avoiding the need for large incisions and the tissue trauma traditional “open” surgery can cause. The result: Less bleeding and less post-op pain, plus much faster recovery. Hip arthroscopy also may be recommended to assist in diagnosing the cause of hip pain, especially when the cause is complex and difficult to determine using imaging studies and physical examination alone.

Find out what’s causing your hip pain.

Without proper medical care, even a minor hip injury can quickly become serious, leaving you with long-term disability and pain. As a top hip specialist in the greater Chicago area, Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel offers state-of-the-art care for patients from all over Wisconsin and Illinois including Rockford, Elgin, Huntley, Dekalb, Crystal Lake, Barrington, McHenry, and Beloit by helping them eliminate painful symptoms while restoring their mobility and improving their quality of life. If you’re having hip pain, don’t delay your treatment. Call Ortho Illinois at 779-774-1110 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Thiel today.

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