As the largest ball-and-socket joint in the human body, your hip connects the upper thighbone to the pelvis, allowing for flexible movement and giving you the stability you need to carry your bodyweight. Obviously any injuries to hips need looking at pretty swiftly. Hamstring injuries should also not be left too long before being checked.
Though the hip can withstand a great deal of wear and tear, its durability can wane with age, overuse and any pressure from excess bodyweight, making it more susceptible to injury, explains DR POH SENG YEW, medical director and senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon. Here are three of the most common injuries to hips he treats
#1 Hip labral tear
The labrum is the tissue that lines the hip socket to support the joint. Labral tears are common in sports that require high-impact, high-bending or twisting movements such as football, golf, martial arts and dance. However, labral tears can also be caused by structural abnormalities in the hip, trauma and hip dislocation.
Symptoms: Signs of a labral tear include sharp pain in the groin or outside of the hip – particularly when turning, twisting or squatting – and stiffness and clicking within the hip.
Treatment: With this type of hip injury, early treatment is key, says Dr Poh. Small tears can usually be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, activity modification and physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles. If these options don’t work, a keyhole procedure (hip arthroscopy) can be performed to repair the torn labrum and reshape the bone for lasting pain relief, and to improve range of motion. Usually, patients can even go home the next day!
#2 Hip abductor tear
Hip abductors are the muscles that run along the outside of the buttocks. They make it possible for you to lift your thighs to the side, and stabilise your pelvis while walking. Tears typically occur as a result of an overuse injury, particularly in a deteriorating tendon; thus, this injury is more common in middle-aged and elderly adults.
Symptoms: With this type of tear, you’ll likely experience pain on the hip joint on the outside of your hip, difficulty sleeping on your side, and trouble putting on your shoes and socks.
Treatment: Small or partial tears can usually be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and physiotherapy to improve hip flexibility, strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve walking patterns, explains Dr Poh.
However, large tears or complete tears can cause significant pain and disability.
Luckily, he says these larger tears can be easily treated with a minimally invasive keyhole procedure to repair the tendon and help restore the patient’s quality of life.
#3 Hamstring injuries
The hamstring muscles play a key role in helping you to bend your knee and extend your thigh. A strain or tear occurs when these muscles are stretched beyond their limit, making it a common occurrence among athletes who run track, and play tennis, basketball, soccer or any other sport that requires sprinting and jumping.
Symptoms: Signs of hamstring injuries include sudden, sharp pain in the back of your thigh, along with swelling, bruising and weakness when bending your knee.
Treatment: Fortunately, Dr Poh says most hamstring injuries heal well with RICE (rest, icing, compression, and elevation) therapy, and by avoiding strenuous activities to allow the muscles to heal. Physiotherapy is also useful in restoring muscle strength. Additionally, he says platelet-rich plasma injections can be useful in helping to speed up the healing process.
With hamstring injuries complete hamstring muscle tears will likely require surgery. The good news is that this can be done with a minimally invasive, keyhole approach.
This article first appeared in the May 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!