Arthritis is the gradual wearing down of the cartilage in a joint which allows for smooth motion. The most common type is osteoarthritis which is the wear and tear of the joint. Risk factors include aging, obesity, and trauma. The most common way to confirm the diagnosis is with an x-ray.
Symptoms include stiffness and pain that can radiate to the groin, side or back of the hip, thigh, or even to the knee. These symptoms can occur with weight bearing activities such as walking, standing and using the stairs, getting out of bed, bending while dressing or squatting, and rising after an extended period of sitting.
A bursa is a fluid filled sac located between the bone and muscle or tendon that acts as a cushion to reduce friction. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa. It can be caused by repetitive activity such as running, biking, standing for extended periods of time, banging or falling onto the outside of the hip.
Symptoms include tenderness and pain on the outside of the hip that can radiate to the buttock and outside of the thigh. Pain can occur with walking, standing, using the stairs, getting out of a chair or a car, or sleeping on the affected side. Treatment includes limiting the aggravating activity.
The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the outer rim of the hip socket to add stability to the joint. Labral tears can occur with contact sports (football), sports that require hip rotation (golf) or trauma (car accident). An MRI is the most common way to confirm the diagnosis.
Symptoms include hip and groin pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, and a clicking or catching sensation. These symptoms can be felt during walking, using the stairs, pivoting of the affected leg, rising from a chair or car, and dressing.
The hip is a ball and socket joint. A hip fracture may occur in the upper femur (thigh bone) or acetabulum (socket). Fractures usually occur from falls or trauma. The risk of a fracture increases with osteoporosis (decrease bone density), decreased balance, and cancer. Fractures can be confirmed with an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan.
Symptoms include pain in the hip and groin, the injured leg appearing shorter, difficulty walking, bruising, and swelling. Fractures are usually repaired surgically. Repairs can be made with screws and plates, hemiarthroplasty (replacing the head of the femur [ball]), or a total hip replacement (replacing the ball and socket).
A stress fracture is an overuse injury of the femur due to repetitive micro trauma. Stress fractures typically occur in high mileage runners, military recruits, or players of high impact sports. The diagnosis can be confirmed with an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan.
Early symptoms include hip and groin pain that can be worse with activity and better with rest. More advanced symptoms can have pain even at rest. Treatment includes limiting the aggravating activity and possibly using crutches for a period of time to limit pressure on the affected leg. Severe cases may require surgery.
Physical therapy may be prescribed by a doctor to treat each of these conditions. A physical therapist will customize a treatment plan which may include stretching, strengthening, balance training, therapeutic massage, applying heat/ice, electric stimulation, or ultrasound and activity modification. The ultimate goals are to eliminate the symptoms, maximize function, and return to previous activites.