The hip is a weight bearing ball and socket joint. As with many joints, the ends of the bones are lined with cartilage to reduce friction. Muscles surround the hip and enable movement. Either one, or a combination of these structures can cause us problems with our hips.
Some common hip problems are described below with information on what you can do to help yourself.
More about the hip
Your hip is a strong, ball-and-socket joint connecting the long bone of your thigh to your pelvis.
Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS)
GTPS is an umbrella term describing pain in the outside of your hip. It includes bursitis (inflammation if the bags of fluid between tendons/bones) and tendinopathy (inflammation of the tendon).
GTPS can be aggravated by weight bearing activities (running/twisting/stairs etc.) and direct pressure (such as lying or pressing on the area).
It can be helped by:
- Strengthening the muscles around the outside of your hip
Stretching the muscles around the hip
Modifying your activity
External Snapping Hip Syndrome
External snapping hip syndrome describes the sensation some patients feel when they bend and straighten their leg. Sometimes the muscle and/or soft tissue around the top outside area of the thigh can move and ‘flick’ – causing a snapping sensation. This is often not painful and not relevant but can sometimes be a source of discomfort.
Most cases settle on their own but stretching and strengthening the muscles of the hip can help.
Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)
FAI describes hip pain which is caused by impingement or 'nipping' of the hip. This impingement can be due to the shape of the hip bones or the balance of the muscles. In some cases the labrum or cartilage rim of the hip’ can become damaged/torn.
Symptoms can include:
- Deep hip and/or groin pain
- Pain worsened with weightbearing activities
- Pain with prolonged sitting
- Clicking/grinding/catching sensation
- Low back pain
Physiotherapy can be useful for some patients with FAI to strengthen and stretch muscles which control hip movement. In some cases, if there is a structural problem inside the hip then further investigation may be necessary.