What Causes Hip Pain?

The hip is located at the top of the legs. We have two hips, and they are what we call a synovial joint, which means they are a ball-and-socket joint and they can move in all directions.

The joint is lined with a cartilage and then in between two cartilages, there’s a fluid called “synovial fluid” which helps to lubricate the joint.

Hips are really important because they allow us to walk. They will keep us upright on top of the pelvis and attach on to the knees. But very often they can be sources of pain and discomfort and not always coming from the hip joint.

What Are The Different Types of Hip Pain

  • Arthritic Hip

Very often we have people come to us saying that there’s a very dull ache deep in the hip and it has been going on for a number of years and now it has started going into the groin.

This is often indicative of osteoarthritis where the hip is starting to wear away. Hip arthritis can occur from a trauma, from imbalance, from more weight going through one side or the other and it’s starting to wear away the hip.

It depends on the level of hip arthritis in terms of what needs to happen. But if the hip is too far gone and the bone is starting to grow around, then sometimes then the option is to do a hip replacement.

The results from hip replacements are really good and the risk is very low and most people will see a really good recovery in the long term and orthopaedic surgeons have got so good with them that people are usually up and walking on that within the day and back to normal activities within six weeks.

If the hip pain is still manageable there are options before hip surgery, strengthening the glutes to stabilise the hip, massage therapy and shockwave can all ease discomfort through the hip.

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  • Referred Hip Pain

The second type of hip pain we see is referred pain from the base of the spine. Often you will say, “I’ve got pain in my hip.” Shooting, stabbing, sharp pain and I feel it right in the back of my hips through the buttock. This is often a referred pain coming from the lower part of the spine where the nerve is being trapped by a disc or a muscle and that’s putting pressure on the glute muscle. That could be felt as hip pain.

One of the ways to remedy this is to stretch the glutes. You can do that with a crossover stretch and you can catch that one here or by doing a lunge stretch and you see that one here as well.

Often using a tennis ball and then sit on the tennis ball on a hard chair will hopefully heal some of the discomfort and through core work will help strengthen the back to make sure this problem doesn’t come back in the future.

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  • Clicking Hip

We also hear people talking about a clicky hip. When they’re lying on their back and they’ve got their knees tucked into their chest, generally lowering one of the knees down causes a clicking or a snapping pain in front of the hip.

This is often the hip flexor which is very tight over the hip extending and then grinding over a muscle or an actual joint. It’s not the joint itself clicking. It’s more the tight muscles that are causing it to part

This can cause tension in the muscle and the hip flexor particularly. People who sit for too long, they compress the hip flexors, so they tend to get shorter. Other ways to combat this is by doing a hip flexor stretch and this will help to get the hip flexors back in the best position and avoid the tension driving the hips forwards.

Another way to remedy any hip dysfunction of hip flexor dysfunction is doing Pilates. It helps to build the glute activation. It helps to drive the hips back and centrally in to the joint when you’re walking or when you’re standing up and that will take a lot of pressure from the base of the spine.

Often the hips can be a source of issue for the knees. If you have any hip instability, the knee will get more stressed and that can cause hip degeneration or arthritis. It is important to look after your hips, keep them as healthy as possible and maintain mobility.

If you are concerned about any of the conditions above please let us know we can do a full examination and x-rays if justified to identify if there is arthritis in the hip joint.

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