Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball of your thighbone fits into the socket of your pelvis. There are also ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and other soft tissues in and around the joint.
The hip is one of the largest joints in your body. It bears your body weight and supports all kinds of movements. When you have hip problems, it affects your entire life.
We offer comprehensive care for a wide array of hip conditions to help reduce pain and restore range of motion. If you’re looking for the expertise of an orthopedic specialist, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health.
Signs and symptoms of hip conditions and injuries depend on the specific problem. Hip pain is a common symptom, which can spread to the thighs, buttocks, or knees. The pain can be sharp, dull, or achy. Other symptoms include joint stiffness, decreased range of motion, and a popping or locking of the joint. For fractures and dislocations, the pain may be severe, and you may not be able to move or rotate your hip.
Causes of hip conditions and injuries depend on the specific problem. Overuse from repetitive motion can cause some hip conditions, such as bursitis. Trauma is the usual cause of hip injuries, including dislocations, fractures, and strains. Trauma includes injury from a fall, a direct blow to the hip, sports injuries, and motor vehicle accidents.
Chronic problems, such as arthritis, are degenerative conditions of the joint surfaces that develop over time. Osteoporosis — or thin, weak bones — can make hip problems more likely.
Dignity Health offers a wide variety of diagnostic tests for hip injuries, using the latest medical technology along with individualized care and human kindness.
Common hip injuries and conditions include:
- Hip arthritis: Osteoarthritis or degenerative forms of arthritis in the hip joint can cause hip pain as the connective materials in the joint break down, and the joint becomes inflamed. Hip arthritis is typically seen in those above the age of 60.
- Hip bursitis: Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions for the bony parts of the bone, preventing wear and tear by reducing friction. After injury, infection, or overuse, these fluid-filled sacs can become inflamed, leading to bursitis.
- Hip dislocations
- Hip fractures and breaks
- Hip strains: The hip includes several major ligaments, which can be pulled or injured due to activity or falls.
- Labral tears: The labrum holds the hip ball in the socket, and is one piece of connective tissue in the hip that is commonly damaged. This can lead to hip instability, pain, or dislocation.
- Hip instability: Instability is typically caused by traumatic injuries to the pelvis, such as car accidents or falls, or congenital (present at birth) disabilities
- Hip dysplasia: When the ball is loose in the hip socket, it is weaker and more prone to dislocation. This is typically a congenital condition (meaning you are born with it), but it can also develop over time.
Common risk factors for hip injury include:
- Age (most hip injuries are experienced by those who are over 60 years of age)
- Participation in sports that put a higher than average amount of pressure on the hip joint, such as skiing and running
- Occupations that require repetitive motion
- Osteoporosis or other conditions that lead to weaker bones
- Poor balance
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Being overweight or obese
- Vision problems
- Lack of physical activity
Preventing hip injuries can be difficult, as they are often the result of accidents. However, you can manage your risk by:
- Engaging in regular exercise, as recommended by your doctor. Exercises that improve your balance are particularly helpful.
- Eating a balanced diet high in leafy vegetables and with adequate sources of calcium and vitamin D
- Maintaining a healthy weight, as recommended by your doctor
- Getting regular physical examinations, including eye exams
- Using caution when engaging in higher-risk activities
- Avoiding cigarettes
- Not pushing through pain
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.