Hip pain is very common in both children and elderly populations. Other more common people who experience hip pain include sports people or those who are on their feet or walking for large portions of the day.
Hip pain can be provoked by lifting heavy objects from low off the ground and tripping or spontaneous movements involving recovering from losing balance. Chances of developing hip pain increases if the activity involves extending the leg back and using maximal muscle strength to drive the leg such as in: football, rugby, racket sports, athletic events (hurdles, triple jump, long jump, javelin etc) and gymnasts and dance styles.
Hip pain can be more serious in the elderly and child age populations and as such there is more emphasis on detailed case history and examination. Such careful screening will reveal if further referral for imaging and special testing is required for best management of the problem.
Muscles strains and joint irritation/’wear and tear’ are the most common causes of hip pain and may only require a short series of treatment to resolve the problem.
Groin pain may be mistaken for hip pain that may be a result of a hernia or genital issues referring pain to the hip. This will require further investigation and if careful case history reveals this may be a possibility then referral to the doctor for investigation will be needed.
Stiffness or restriction of movement
Pain lifting the knee to toward the chest or behind you
Difficulty lifting the leg whilst walking up or down steps
Difficulty going from sit to stand or stand to sit
Sharp pain in the groin on certain leg movements
Difficultly putting on socks and shoes
Pain travelling down the back of leg to the knee or foot
Pain travelling down the front and/or side of the leg to the knee
Low back pain
Due to the close relationship of the ankle and knee mechanics with the hip: a detailed examination of the lower limb biomechanics is essential in identifying the root cause of the problem. Examination of the upper and lower back is also essential as hip pain can be referred from the lower back.
Specific joint mobilisation techniques will be used to improve the function of the hip joint and increase it’s range of motion. Manipulation may also be indicated to free up the hip ligaments.
Many specific muscle contraction and relaxation sequences will enable the body to release tension in the hip and also rapidly improve muscle strains. Soft and deep tissue techniques may be used to reduce larger muscle strains and increase the speed of recovery.
Hydrotherapy is very useful at decreasing the healing time required to return to sport and pain free living.
Specific stretching and exercises may be advised to correct compensatory patterns and weaker muscle groups. Better muscle balance will reduce the strains to the hip whether this is through stretching out tight muscles or strengthening weak muscles.