Hip Injuries: How Common They Really Are

August 9, 2021

Hip injuries are very common in the general population due to the stress through the joint on a daily basis, so it’s no surprise that you have experienced an injury.

The three most common injuries that occur in the hip joint include:

It is important to understand the structure of the hip before we can discuss hip injuries.

Hip Anatomy

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball (femoral head) is the rounded top of the femur, commonly known as the thighbone. The socket  (acetabulum) is located in the pelvis. The femoral head fits into the socket. The ball-and-socket anatomy allows the leg to move forward, backward, and side-to-side. It also allows for internal and external rotation (pointing the toes inward and outward).

Hip Impingement

Hip Impingement is a condition in which there is an abnormal growth of bone in the hip joint. There are two types of impingement; the first is an excess bone growth on the femoral head (the ball). The second is an excess bone growth on the acetabulum (the socket).

Signs and Symptoms

Labral Tear of the Hip

A labral tear of the hip is a tear in the labrum which is the ring on the outer edge of the acetabulum. The labrum deepens the socket, making the hip joint more stable so when this tears there is often a decrease in hip stability. The labrum also allows for flexibility and when this is injured, it is often characterized as a decrease on motion of the hip.

Signs and Symptoms

Arthritis/Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of pain in the hip. Arthritis is a progressive disorder, which means that it typically starts gradually and gets worse with time.  Arthritis is generally a result of wear and tear on the joint, which explains why it is more common in older than younger people but it can also occur in active young adults. Arthritis is the degeneration of cartilage in the hip joint on either the ball (femoral head) or socket (acetabulum).

Signs and Symptoms

Hip Injuries are amongst the most common injuries seen for physical therapy. It is essential to treat hip injuries immediately when they begin to prevent further damage from occurring to the joint.

Often, there is a misconception that all hip injuries will need surgery and that the only treatment is oral medications or operating on the joint, however, this is NOT the case. Physical therapy can reduce and eliminate hip pain with the combination of soft tissue to release muscle tension on the joint and strengthening to help support the joint.

By Dr. Billy Beaudreau, PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, FAAOMPT

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