The hip joint is a ball and socket joint formed by the ball at top of the thigh bone and the socket being a hollow in the pelvis where the ball sits and can move. This allows for the hip to weight bear when the body is both stationary and walking/running. The hip joint is surrounded by strong ligaments which form the whole joint capsule making the hip joint the strongest in the body. Hip pain can be felt not only in the hip itself but also in the thighs, buttock and groin. Pain may be caused by damage to the ligaments encircling the hip joint, by damage or compression to the nerves serving the hip or from an injury sustained, for example in fall.
A condition causing pain in the hip includes osteoarthritis. This is a condition where the cartilage within the joint has deteriorated leaving the two bones (the ball and the socket wall) to rub against each other resulting in pain on movement and often after long periods of inactivity.
A hip fracture may be caused from a fall (often seen in the elderly) or a stress fracture (more common in younger patients or those who are very active). Fractures require immediate medical attention and should be treated as emergencies.
Other conditions causing pain in the hip are bursitis and tendonitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae within the hip. The bursae are small fluid filled sacs located over the joints to provide a cushion between the bones and the tendons. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendon at the top of the thigh bone.
Pain in certain areas can be associated with different causes and can help your consultant pinpoint the origin of the pain.
Treatments for hip pain will commonly start with pain relief, often in the form of medication but also cold packs, ice, and importantly rest.
Your consultant would assess where the pain was originating from and treat you accordingly. Joint injections using a steroid (with or without a viscosupplementation such as Synvisc) can be extremely beneficial for those suffering hip pain, especially if the pain is due to inflammation of the bursae.
Physiotherapy would usually be recommended to run alongside any medication or injection therapy to ensure that the normal hip movement and mobility is improved and maintained.