For many people who complain of hip, buttock, and groin pain, it may feel as though they are the only ones in the world with the issue. However, according to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, about two-thirds of chronic pain experienced has to do with the hip and the groin region, making it one of the most common issues.
Hip or groin pain can be caused by a myriad of physical issues. Biomechanically speaking, the hip joint can withstand a lot of repetitive motion, in addition, to wear and tear over time. It is, after all, the largest ball and socket joint in the body. The two (ball and socket) fit together, which allows for fluid movement.
Each time we use the hip when running or squatting, a cushion of cartilage cushions the movement to prevent friction as the hip bone moves. However, despite being an exceptionally durable joint, your hips aren't indestructible. As we age, the cartilage wears down and will become damaged. Also, the tendons and muscles in the hips tend to get overused. Furthermore, it isn't uncommon for the hip bone(s) to break when you fall or if there is some other accident, which can lead to hip and even groin pain.
If you are suffering from chronic hip or groin pain, there could be a couple of things causing it, as we'll examine in this article.
Chronic Hip Pain Symptoms
Depending on what led to the hip pin or what is causing the hip pain, you will feel discomfort in the groin, hip joint, buttocks, and outside of the hip joint.
Some people may experience pain in many other parts of the body, like the groin or back which may be caused by a hernia. The pain will then radiate to the hip.
People suffering from pain may also notice that their pain becomes worse when they engage in activities, especially if the root cause of that chronic pain is arthritis. In addition, you will also experience a reduced range of motion. Some people will develop a limp if there is persistent hip pain.
Common Causes of Chronic Hip Pain
As mentioned earlier, there are many reasons why you may be suffering from hip or groin pain. Knowing the root causes of the pain is one of the steps to ensuring that it is addressed appropriately. Below we will examine and briefly discuss some of the most common causes of hip and groin pain.
Arthritis happens to be the most common cause of chronic hip pain, mainly affecting older adults. Mostly the condition can lead to a biomechanical imbalance within the hip joint and then further deterioration of the cartilage that cushions movement for the hip bones. People who experience chronic hip pain caused by arthritis will notice it getting worse over time. Many people will also feel stiff and report having a reduced range of motion, especially along the hip.
If not addressed in time, the resulting pain can worsen to the point where the person has a hard time standing or sitting. That's why it (hip pain) should be diagnosed by a professional early on so that the condition can be managed.
Our bones tend to become weaker and more brittle as we age. The weakened bones become highly susceptible to damage. Even a minor slip and fall or being hit by something can fracture the hip. Most people's symptoms of a fractured hip are indistinguishable from any other type of hip pain, though it may be accompanied by swelling and pain in the fractured region from where it (the pain) radiates.
The bursae are mainly small sacs that are found in between the tissue, such as the tendons, muscles, and bones. Their job is to minimize the friction caused by the tissues rubbing over bony protuberances. When the bursae are inflamed, they can lead to immense pain.
Inflammation of the bursae is mainly caused by repetitive movement or activities. Generally, people who engage in repetitive motion or long-term hip pain that alters the biomechanics of posture and gait will experience inflamed bursae, leading to hip pain. Depending on the extent of the inflammation, the pain can be long-term or relatively short-lived.
The tendons are a lot like thick rubber bands that attach the bones to your muscle. However, when you have tendinitis, those tendons are inflamed or irritated. Tendinitis in most cases is caused by repetitive stress, generally from overuse of those muscles or areas. Chronic tendinitis is more accurately termed tendinosis as it is caused by chronic architectural changes in the tendon as opposed to inflammation.
Muscle Strain and Tendon Strain
Usually, this is caused by repetitive activities that strain the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the hips. When these become scarred, mainly because of overuse, they can become painful and often prevent full movement of the hip, which makes walking painful and challenging. Ironically, movement and exercise help to break up that scar tissue and bring blood flow into those chronically injured soft tissues to help heal them up.
Many people who exercise for the first time after an extended hiatus can experience muscle strain or pain. However, the pain is relatively short-lived. But if proper exercise isn't being performed in the correct form, the pain can persist and often lead to other related injuries.
Lumbar Spine Disease
Even though you have pain in your hip, it may be referred to other aspects of your body such as low back paraspinal muscles or nerve compression from a disc herniation or bone spurs in the lumbar spine. Consultation with a doctor is important to distinguish back issues from hip issues.
There are other causes of hip pain that involve structures within the joint and bone disorders, as well as disease processes from within the abdomen, pelvis, or spine that can mimic hip pain, which is out of the scope of this article. With the many causes of hip pain, evaluation by a medical caregiver is recommended to make sure the proper treatment is being performed.
When To Consult With A Physician?
We would strongly advise that everyone consult a doctor, especially if the pain is sharp and crippling. You shouldn't wait too long to speak with a doctor.
Generally speaking, you should seek treatment for hip pain or groin pain if:
You get this intense feeling of pain suddenly coming on out of nowhere.
You have noticed bleeding, or the joints appear to have deformed.
The hip pain has been triggered by an injury caused by falling or some other accident.
The pain started when you heard a distinct popping noise in the joint when you were injured.
The pain you feel is intense.
You feel hip pain at night or when you are trying to rest. Often this is when some people may complain it gets worse.
You have noticed that the area around where you were injured is swollen; there is redness and the feeling of warmth.
You are having trouble moving your hip or leg.
You are unable to put any weight on your hip, which makes walking an excruciating experience.
As we've discussed above, there are many conditions that can lead to various types of hip pain in general. Some of these conditions can be more serious and harder to treat than others. However, the important thing is to not self-diagnose the problem. Self-diagnosis often turns out wrong because you aren't a medical professional. It is essential to seek help from a physician, especially if the chronic pain you're experiencing has altered the quality of your life. We all enjoy engaging in certain activities, and hip pain can make it impossible.
If you are dealing with chronic hip pain, we can assure you that you are not alone. There are possibly millions of Americans dealing with chronic hip pain, but we can help you. Get in touch with us for a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan for your pain.