Basics on the Hip Joint
Your hip joint is one of the largest joints in your body. It is supported by ligaments-–strong bands of tissues that connect a bone to another bone-–and muscles. Although it is one of the most stable joints in your body, it can be injured from falls and deteriorate as you age. Supporting structures such as ligaments and muscles can also be injured because of overuse, too much exertion and improper execution of movement.
- More on the Hip Joint
Hip pain causes
Hip pain can be caused by many health conditions and injuries. Some of the most common causes of hip pain include:
- Hip fractures
A hip fracture can cause sudden hip pain. They become more common as you age. Falls are more common in the elderly and broken bones are more likely to occur because their bones are less dense. Hip fracture is a medical emergency that requires medical and surgical treatment.
Arthritis is one of the most common causes of hip pain, especially in the elderly. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common type of arthritis. In osteoarthritis, the smooth lining of the ends of bones in a joint becomes damaged causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Hip pain from arthritis can be managed with physical therapy and, in severe cases, hip replacement surgery.
A strain occurs when your muscle or its tendon is injured or damaged because of overstretching or tearing. This can cause pain and possible muscle weakness. Two of the most common strains occurring in the hip are groin strain and pulled hamstrings.
A hip sprain results from stretching or tearing of any of the ligament surrounding your hip joint. Depending on the severity, it can cause hip pain, swelling, tenderness and joint instability.
Tendonitis, also called tendinitis, occurs when a tendon surrounding your hip joint becomes inflamed causing hip pain. A tendon is a strong fibrous tissue connecting a muscle to a bone. In the hip, the most common cause of tendonitis is iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. Tendonitis commonly occurs because of overuse and repetitive movements.
- Trochanteric Bursitis
Trochanteric bursitis is an inflammation that occurs in the trochanteric bursa located on the upper outer part of your thigh. It is a common cause of hip pain in runners and bicycle riders, especially when the seat is positioned too high.
- Osteonecrosis of the Hip
Osteonecrosis of the hip, also called avascular necrosis, results from inadequate blood flow to the upper part of the thigh bone (head of the femur). If you have osteonecrosis of the hip, your bone cells do not receive enough blood supply causing it to weaken and collapse.
Suggested Readings on Hip Pain
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Hip Pain. Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine (NLM). Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003179.htm. Accessed on January 15, 2011
Questions and Answers About Bursitis and Tendinitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Available at http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis/default.asp. Accessed on January 15, 2011