• Sprains and Strains of the Hip

      It’s an interesting fact of life that we don’t appreciate a device’s inner workings until something goes wrong. So it goes with the hip. The intricate mechanics of the hip are something to behold: a 360-degree bundle of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that work in tandem to allow us a range of movements at the hip – from the simple motions of everyday life to the more complicated jumps, pivots and lunges on the sports field.

      Hip injuries, then, can slow us down to the point of frustration. Let’s go through a quick rundown of common hip injuries in order to understand and demystify some of the strains and sprains before they turn into chronic conditions.Illustration of Bursae in Hip

      To start, the most common hip problem is Hip Bursitis. Its technical name is trochanteric bursitis, and it refers to an injury at the bursa located on the outside, or lateral, region of the hip. Bursae are small packets of fluid that allow for the smooth movement of muscles on tendons and are present in all of our major joints. Hip Bursitis can be caused by overuse or trauma and is indicated by pain on the outside of the hip.

      If we move from the outside to the rear of the hip, we encounter an injury sometimes referred to as Runner’s Hip. Runner’s Hip is another term for gluteus medius tendonitis. The gluteus medius sits close to the hip, a location that makes it comparable to the hip’s version of a rotator cuff. This muscle acts as a stabilizer for the hip and pelvis when we stand, walk, or run, thus its tendency to bother joggers.

      Next, the hip’s inside, or medial region is the site of what is sometimes termed Dancer’s Hip. The technical term for this injury is the tongue twisting iliopsoas tendonitis, and in addition to pain, is associated by a light snapping or clicking sensation. Again, rest and awareness can help this strain to heal.

      Finally, there is hip arthritis. A grinding hip pain that runs towards the groin can sometimes be caused by hip arthritis. This condition is common in middle age and older individuals, and results from degeneration and inflammation of the joints.

      The bright side is that most sprains and strains of the hip will improve with a simple, time-tested regimen. This regimen is commonly referred to as RICE and stands for: Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation. An even more effective (and accurate) acronym for the hip might be RICA, where the final “A” stands for anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen.

      Now that we understand the anatomy of the hip, it’s easier to see how important it can be to thoroughly stretch and exercise to protect these muscles and tendons from injury. If you’ve been slowed down by troubling hip pain, and feel that you need an evaluation, do not hesitate to see one of our hip specialists today.