Hip joint is a ball and socket joint that allows the movement of thigh in different directions. It also allows the hip to bear weight of the body. Hip joint comprises of various structures like bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, lubricating fluid etc. Hip disorders can affect any of these parts, including ligaments and cartilage.

Causes of Hip Ailments

Hip is a very stable joint and it takes lot of force to hurt it. Other than this, following reasons may contribute to the development of hip ailments:

  • Arthritis: Arthritis conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis etc. is the most common cause of hip pain.
  • Hip injuries: A direct blow on the hip during vehicular accident or fall can cause hip problem
  • Wear and tear: Excessive use of the joint may cause disorders like osteoarthritis.
  • Overweight: In some cases, excessive weight on the joint can be the reason for joint disorders.
  • Aging: Getting older can also be a reason for many hip problems.
  • Infections: Infectious diseases like lyme disease, septic arthritis etc. can affect the hip.
  • Chronic diseases: Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation of the joints, including the hip.
  • Developmental abnormalities: In some cases, developmental abnormalities of the bones or joint can cause hip disorders.

Symptoms of Hip Ailments

The symptoms of hip ailments depend upon the disorder and its extent (acute or chronic), But in majority of the cases, patient complains of the following problems associated with the hip joint:

  • Pain in the hip joint with or without movement
  • Pain on putting weight on the affected side
  • Referred pain that may be felt in the leg
  • Reduced movement in the hip joint
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Warmth in the joint
  • Limping
  • Restricted physical activity

These are just common symptoms but patient may have other symptoms too that should not be ignored as hip joint is one of the most important joint of our body. So anything that is not normal or is causing discomfort should be discussed with the doctor and treated accordingly.

Diagnosis of Hip Ailments

The diagnosis of hip ailments starts with a complete medical history of the patient. It is also required to consider family history of joint pains as some of these disorders run in families. This is followed by thorough physical examination of the joint to find any visible signs and assess its level of activity. In addition to these following diagnostic tests are almost always required to conclude the disorder:

  • X ray
  • Bone scan
  • CAT scan
  • MRI
  • Arthroscopy
  • Biopsy

Treatment of Hip Ailments

Treatment of hip problems specifically depends upon the cause and extent of disorder. It is required to first evaluate the damage that has already occurred and simultaneously start the treatment that would prevent further damage. Treatment may include some of the following:

  • Medication: Oral or injectable medicines are given to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation e.g. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
  • Physical therapy: Various types of exercises and activities are advised to the patient so as to improve the joint movement and strength.
  • Weight loss: Weight loss can drastically improve the discomfort of hip that has occurred due to excessive weight.
  • Surgery: In cases of severely damaged hip joint that cannot be managed by any of the conservative ways, surgery can prove to be beneficial for the patient.

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