If you’re experiencing hip pain while running or walking, it might be time to get checked out by a doctor. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remain mobile, keeping your hip joints in good shape is fundamentally important. After all, the hips are crucial in ensuring support and stability when walking and running. Over your lifetime, however, the cartilage and joints can deteriorate and cause problems like hip osteoarthritis and labral tears. DR ALAN CHEUNG, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at International Orthopaedic Clinic (IOC), tells us about different types of hip pain and the causes.
#1 Labral Tears and Hip Impingement
Young and middle-aged athletes who enjoy running and playing sports such as football, rugby and martial arts may experience sharp groin pains that can cause hip stiffness and sometimes a catching or locking sensation. This may be caused by a tear in the lining of the hip joint called the labrum. A labral tear is often associated with a growth of bone (known as a cam lesion) at the top of the thigh bone which rubs against the hip socket, causing friction and pain. Rest, physiotherapy and medication usually cure this problem but sometimes patients require surgery to repair the labral tear and remove the excess bone.
#2 Hip Osteoarthritis
Hip osteoarthritis results when the smooth cartilage lining of the hip joint degenerates, causing groin pain, stiffness and difficulty walking and climbing stairs. While it usually takes many years for this to happen, it’s also present in younger patients who may have problems involving blood supply to the hip joint. This can be caused by injury, medications or autoimmune diseases that can accelerate the degenerative process. While non-surgical methods are often effective initially, if the osteoarthritis worsens, a hip replacement may be the most effective way of managing the condition.
#3 Trochanteric Bursitis
If you’re experiencing pain on the outside of your hip, this may be due to trochanteric bursitis. The condition is caused by the thick band of tissue on the side of your legs rubbing against the bony part of your thigh bone, causing pain and inflammation. This tends to occur in runners and cyclists due to the repetitive leg movements required in the sports. IOC offers a variety of non-surgical solutions to this problem such as physiotherapy, extra-corporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) and ultrasound guided injections.
#4 Referred Spinal Pain
If you experience a shooting pain at the back of your hip going down your leg, then you might have sciatica. This pain is more closely related to spinal problems such as a bulging or slipped disc. Lower back problems are extremely common, particularly among those with sedentary jobs. While not technically a hip problem, spine problems can cause pain around the hip. This is because the large sciatic nerve passing behind the hip joint is connected to the spine and may transmit pain signals known as referred pain. Spine problems may also cause numbness and weakness of the leg. For cases like this, it’s important that your specialist can think laterally to identify it as a spine issue.
If you’re experiencing hip pain, do seek medical help, as it may progress to a chronic issue that requires surgery. IOC’s experienced British- and Hip Fellowship-trained Orthopaedic Consultants are available to discuss issues related to joint health and offer effective surgical and non-surgical solutions so you can get back to the sports and the activities you love.
This article first appeared in the November 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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