Hip Pain Overview
Hip pain and back pain are two syndromes that occur in very close proximity. They both are often highly agitating, and debilitating to whom ever experiences it. They both are connected at the sacroiliac joint, and both are responsible for supporting the weight of the entire body. Because of these similarities they often can confuse the patient as to what they are experiencing. Many patients come in saying that they have hip pain when they really have back pain that is localizing to the posterior (the buttocks). True hip pain will radiate not to the buttocks, but to the groin. That is how we as physicians truly know you are experiencing hip pains. Hip pain is usually the result of arthritis in a great majority of cases. But there are certain diseases such as infections, cancer and hip fracture that can also cause pain in your hip region. That is why we would like to take the time to educate you, the patient, on what things you should watch out for in hip emergencies.
Arthritis: This disease is the result of constant remodeling of the hip joint due to microfractures and bone deposition. This can create bony protrusions and joint scarring which could lead to loss of cartilage and bone on bone contact. This contact can lead to sensitive areas in the hip and excruciating pain. This pain can be highly debilitating and can result in limping and easing off of the joint behaviorally due to painful sensation. The best thing to do for hip arthritis is to take over the counter pain medications as well as try physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles.
Septic Arthritis (Infected Joint): This is a syndrome seen in anyone who is sexually active. The typical patient who experiences is a young to middle aged adult who is sexually active. This disease is the result of a gonorrhea infection that causes the immune system to target the hip joint. This can be a highly painful arthritis that only resolves after the infection is treated.
Hip Fracture: This is typically seen in the elderly patient who is vitamin D and calcium deficient and is at risk for osteoporosis. This includes patients who have under gone post-menopausal changes as well as patients who have experienced hip trauma. Trauma can be as simple as bumping against the edge of a table, and could be as severe as falling on the floor and landing on the hip. There can be hip shortening on the side of the hip that is affected. Patients with hip fractures will also loose range of motion at the hip due to pain and mechanical instability which leads them to leave their leg in an outward facing position. Stress fractures of the hip can be hidden from the patient as possible arthritic pains caused by arthritis of the hip. The stress fracture looks like hip arthritis but can lead to serious symptoms such as further hip fracture at the head and neck of the femur. If this is not corrected your hip can heal incorrectly and compromise blood flow to the hip joint causing a syndrome called avascular necrosis.