10 Facts About Hip Pain – Q&A Interview with Dr. Chahla
Hip pain is a common complaint that can be caused by a wide variety of problems. The precise location of your hip pain can provide valuable clues about the underlying cause.
Problems within the hip joint itself tend to result in pain on the inside of your hip or your groin. Hip pain on the outside of your hip, upper thigh or outer buttock is usually caused by problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues that surround your hip joint. In this question and answer interview, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jorge Chahla answers frequently asked questions about hip pain. If you’re suffering from hip pain, consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Chahla. During the consultation, Dr. Chahla can elaborate on the questions below, answer additional questions, and discuss the diagnostic process.
What are the most common causes of hip pain?
There are multiple causes that can lead to hip joint pain. The most frequent cause of pain is osteoarthritis, which means that the cartilage (coating for the bone) is wearing off and there is inflammation in the joint. Labral tears or cartilage damage can also be a significant source for pain within the joint. These conditions usually cause groin pain. Tendonitis (inflammation of different tendons such as the gluteus medius, minimus, hamstring or psoas), bursitis (inflammation of the bag of fluid on the outside of the hip), muscle strains, and nerve problems can cause hip pain.
What are the symptoms associated with hip pain?
Symptoms commonly associated with hip pain that may indicate damage to the cartilage or labrum include:
- Intermittent deep groin pain or ache (most common)
- Pain at the outside of the joint
- Sharp stabbing pain when twisting, turning or squatting as when getting in or out of a car or a chair
- A dull ache from prolonged sitting or walking
- A clicking or locking sound when the hip is moved
- Instability and decreased range of motion
- Stiffness and limping
Why do I have hip pain at night?
There are many causes that can contribute to hip pain at night. Arthritis is a common contributor to night pain as well as tendonitis, or inflammation of your tendons. If you experience pain when you are laying on one side, this may be due to inflammation of the bursa, or the small fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the hip joint (bursitis).
What is a labral tear?
The hip is a ball and socket joint. The socket is the part of the hip bone called the acetabulum, and the head of the femur is the ball. Articular cartilage covers both the ball and the socket and functions to reduce friction for smooth joint movement. The labrum is ring of very strong fibrocartilage (like a rubber band) that lines the outer edge of the socket and deepens the hip socket. Most labral tears are due to FAI (femoroacetabular impingement), and the symptoms usually overlap. A labral tear does not usually heal on its own because it has a limited blood supply. Some people live active lives and never have problems even with a labral tear that did not heal.
What is hip strain?
Hip strains occur when one of the muscles supporting your hip joint is overstretched. Strains may be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the level of injury. Hip strains can occur doing everyday tasks, but most often occur during sport activities. Factors such as muscle tightness and failing to warm up properly before exercise can put you at risk for a hip strain. Symptoms of hip muscle strain include limited range of motion, muscle weakness, and increased pain when you use the affected muscle.
What is piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is a condition where the piriformis muscle spasms and causes pain in the buttock. The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located deep in the buttock, assisting in rotating the hip and turning the leg and foot outward. This condition is due to nerve compression at the hip and can cause pain down the back of the thigh or with walking up stairs. Treatment of piriformis syndrome includes rest, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy to help stretch the piriformis muscle. Steroid injections directed near the piriformis muscle can also be used as a nonoperative treatment option. Very rarely is surgery indicated for piriformis syndrome.
What is Iliotibial band syndrome?
Iliotibial band syndrome, or “ITB syndrome,” is one of the most common cause of lateral knee pain particularly in runners. The ITB is a strong, thick band of tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh from your hip bone to below your knee. The exact cause of ITB syndrome is not clear, however it is thought that the pain may be caused by the friction of the ITB moving over the lower edge of the thighbone, causing inflammation. The pain experienced with ITB syndrome is often an aching, burning pain that can spread up to your hip. Dr. Chahla will do a complete physical exam to diagnose ITB syndrome and rule out other causes of pain. Common treatments used for ITB syndrome include limiting activity level, icing the knee, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and performing special exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles around the hip and knee.
When should I see a doctor about my hip pain?
Tears of the hip tendons typically cause significant pain, but they aren’t the only cause of hip pain. Hip pain – even relatively minor discomfort – can be a sign of a serious underlying problem. Having pain evaluated and treated as soon as possible is important for relieving your symptoms, and it’s also important for ensuring you’ll enjoy a speedy return to the activities you love.
What can I do at home to reduce my hip pain?
There are a variety of techniques you can use to reduce hip pain in the comfort of your own home. It is important to avoid the activities that cause you hip pain. Applying an ice pack to the area where you feel pain can help reduce inflammation and improve your hip pain. Compression wraps and Ace bandages are additional treatment options that can be applied at home. Additionally, elevating the hip can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. A warm bath or shower may also help reduce your pain and prepare your muscles for stretching.
What are the treatments for hip pain?
By the time symptoms develop there is usually some damage to the hip cartilage (labrum) and with repeated use, the damage will progress. The reason athletes are often diagnosed with FAI is because they overuse the joint in extreme ranges of motion which can cause damage to the labrum and causing pain.
In mild to moderate cases, symptoms can improve with nonsurgical treatment. This involves a change in activities to avoid movements that cause pain, including taking time off from athletics, using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation, and physical therapy. Symptoms should resolve within several weeks. Corticosteroid injections can also help relieve pain.
When nonsurgical treatments do not relieve pain and imaging reveals severe tears or detachment of the labrum, or damage to the articular cartilage, surgery will be recommended. Surgery can be performed in a minimally invasive procedure called hip arthroscopy, which is usually an outpatient procedure. However, in some cases open surgery may be required. Hip surgery is customized for each patient because each patient’s anatomy and condition are different.
Schedule an orthopedic hip consultation with Dr. Jorge Chahla
Dr. Jorge Chahla MD is an international renowned orthopedic surgeon in Chicago, Illinois. He is an expert in minimally invasive orthopedic techniques to treat sports injuries and degenerative conditions. Dr. Chahla welcomes national and international patients and offers personalized treatment plans designed to get his patients back to the lives they love.
Contact him to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and the most advance treatments available.