Anatomy of the Hips
Our hips are built to withstand heavy use and repetitive stress. They are extremely stable when healthy and are the body’s largest ball-and-socket joint. They contain a cushion of cartilage to absorb the shock and prevent friction, but over time, this cartilage can begin to wear or become damaged. Repetitive activities such as running, jumping, or playing high-impact sports can cause wear and tear and over over time, they can become damaged. Hip injury is also common among the elderly, for as we age our bones and cartilage become brittle and less elastic. Bones or joints in this state are injured much more easily and are prone to breaks.
What is a osteoarthritis?
Arthritis is defined as the degeneration of one or more joints, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and reduced range of motion.Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis and most often occurs in weight-bearing joints, such as the hips. It is characterized by the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, resulting in pain and stiffness.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, formed by the acetabulum (the ‘socket’) and the femoral head (the ‘ball’), which is located at the top end of the femur (thigh bone). The bones of the joint are covered with a lining (the synovium), which produces a lubricant, allowing the cartilage and bone of the joint to move smoothly. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage wears away over time, becoming brittle and rough. This decreases the protective space between the bones and can eventually result in the bones rubbing against one another. This can result in bone spurs, causing more problems.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hip?
- Pain and swelling in the hip
- Difficulty climbing and descending stairs
- Stiffness when getting up in the morning
- Reduced range of motion and loss of use
- Crunching feeling (creaking or the sound of bone rubbing on bone) in the hip
- Feeling of warmth in the hip area
- Reduced ability to move the hip
How is osteoarthritis treated? Learn more here.
What is a labral tear?
The hip labrum is the ring of cartilage that wraps around the rim of socket part of the ball-and-socket hip joint. It is similar to a gasket or seal, keeping the femur, or thigh bone, in place within the joint. When the labrum is torn, it is known as a labral tear.
What causes a labrum to tear or become damaged?
Damaged or torn labrums are common to athletes or laborers who engage in repetitive movement.
Trauma – The labrum can become torn or damaged due to an injury, often associated with high contact sports, or a dislocation of the hip.
Repetitive stress – Physical labor or sports that require a repetitive movement, or sudden twisting/pivoting motion can cause wear to the labrum, over time. Eventually, this can lead to a tear.
Structural abnormality – If the hip is not properly aligned or configured, as in those born with a structural abnormality, it can increase the amount of wear and tear that normal movement causes to the labrum, eventually resulting in a tear.
What are the symptoms?
Oftentimes, a torn hip labrum will not display any symptoms, making it difficult to know it is damaged. When symptoms do arise, however, they may include:
- Pain in the hip or groin area
- Reduced range of motion in the hip joint
- Clicking or locking of the hip joint
Sometimes, the labrum can heal on its own. If it worsens or does not get better after six weeks, seek medical attention.
Bursitis refers to a swelling or inflammation of the bursa—the fluid-filled sack that functions as a shock-absorber and reduces friction between the tissue in joints such as the hips, knees, elbows and shoulders.
What causes bursitis of the hip?
The most common cause of bursitis, in the hip or elsewhere, is repetitive stress. Overuse of the joint can result in inflammation, as well as an impact or trauma to the area. Age is also a factor. As we age, our tendons lose some of their elasticity and become more brittle. This makes them less able to withstand stress and tear easier. If a tendon tears, the bursa can also be damaged.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain on the outer side of the hip that may get worse when moving to a standing position or sitting for a long time
- Pain that worsens after repetitive hip movements, such as jogging, climbing stairs or walking
- Swelling and warmth around the hip area
- Pain that is sharp for the first few days and then becomes more of a dull ache
Traditional western medicine will generally treat hip pain with medication– typically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)– physical therapy and possibly surgery. NSAIDs have powerful side effects and can cause secondary issues, such as stomach problems, including bleeding and ulcer, abdominal pain, fluid retention, kidney problems, heart problems, rashes and more. In fact, NSAIDs have recently been found to be more dangerous than previously thought. The FDA is now strengthening their warning that even the over-the-counter strengths can cause heart attacks or strokes. This course of treatment puts patients on a fast track to ever increasing doses of an ever increasing potency anti-inflammatories and pain-killers. These treatments have been shown in countless studies to accelerate arthritis and increase the need for total joint replacements.
When hip pain (or any joint pain) is treated with a pain killer or anti-inflammatory drug, the patient may feel some relief, because the symptoms are being suppressed. This is not a solution, however, because it is not fixing the cause of the pain. Inflammation is not the cause of the pain, it is the body’s natural response to injury and the trigger for it to begin the healing process. By suppressing the inflammation, these drugs are preventing the body from healing itself. Painkillers are simply numbing the pain that results from the injury. If the injury is not treated, it may never properly heal and can even get worse as time goes on. Many of our patients have been on ascending does of pain medication for years, with no end in sight.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we treat hip pain holistically–by learning where the problem originated and working to heal it.
Using methods such as prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy, we accelerate and enhance the body’s natural healing process. We see many patients who have already been through the gamut of traditional medicine and have not found relief. Many people who have had no success with treatments such as surgery, nerve block, epidurals and steroid injections, trigger point injections, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture and more, find relief for the first time after receiving treatment at the Magaziner Center. With no side effects, downtime or surgery, we have gotten patients off of medication, helped them to avoid surgery and gotten them back to their lives.
*The treatment that we will recommend depends on the type and severity of the injury or condition. Call 856-324-6033 or email to schedule a consultation and learn about the options that are right for you.