Hip Pain

What Causes Hip Pain

Due to its ball and socket shape, the hip joint allows for large amounts of movement during activities such as walking, running, and going up or down stairs.  Hip pain can be caused by many different problems and often results in reduced activity tolerance.  Hip pain may be caused by muscular or connective tissue problems, such as hip tendinitis, bursitis, or iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.  Arthritic changes are common in the hip and physical therapy can be helpful as a non-surgical treatment or as rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery.  Unfortunately, the hip and thigh bone are common areas for a bone to break after a fall or trauma and physical therapy may be needed to help these patients return to walking and daily activities.  Despite the variety of possible causes for hip pain, physical therapy is often helpful for reducing pain and improving daily function.

Symptoms of Hip Pain

  • Groin, buttock, or thigh pain or stiffness
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Leg weakness
  • Poor balance/falls
  • Clicking or popping in the hip joint
  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • Pain with prolonged sitting or standing
  • Pain laying on your side
  • Difficulty standing from chairs
  • Difficulty putting on socks and shoes

Common Treatments of Hip Pain

  • Balance exercises
  • Dry needling
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Heat/Cold
  • Soft tissue mobilization/joint mobilization
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Walking training/education for use of canes, crutches, etc.

Treatment of hip pain will depend on the specific factors that contribute to the pain and disability.  Stiffness within the hip and back leads to discomfort and may limit movement, so stretching exercises may be prescribed to improve flexibility.  Joint and soft tissue mobilizations may also be used to improve movement of the hip if stiffness is noticed.  The hip may become weakened if pain is present for a long time leading to reduced activity level or after a surgical procedure, so exercises to restore strength and control of the joint may be important.  Re-learning how to walk is important after surgery and improving balance with training exercises or by using a cane or walker can help improve safety.  The hip can be a painful area due to the demands placed on it during daily activity, so adjusting daily activities to improve comfort and using pain relieving techniques, such as heat or ice, may be recommended.