What is Hip Pain?

Hip pain is a common problem that may be caused by a wide variety of conditions. If you have hip pain a consultation by a physiotherapist is advisable as he/she can determine the underlying cause through a comprehensive physical assessment. When you have hip problems the pain tends to radiate on the inside of your leg, your groin, or the outside of your upper thigh. Your physical symptoms specifically depends on what is causing the hip pain. On occasion, pain into your hip can radiate from your low back. In this particular instance you are not experiencing hip pain but rather low back pain that is shooting into your hip.

Anatomy of the Hip

The hip is a ball and socket joint designed to withstand weightbearing activity. When the hip joint is in motion, the cartilage within the joint helps prevent friction. Unfortunately, the hip is prone to conditions that cause pain and stiffness and a wearing down of the cartilage. Wearing down of cartilage is part of the aging process which deteriorates the joint resulting in bone grinding on bone (arthritis). The muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursa can also cause issues creating more pain and discomfort in different parts of the hip.

Common conditions that can cause hip pain

(please not this list is not exhaustive)

  • Arthritis: there are many different types of arthritis. For example, Juvenile, Psoariatic or Rheumatoid arthritis. The most common type of hip arthritis is called Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that protects the ends of your bones gets worn down over time. Although the damage to the cartilage cannot be reversed the condition itself can be managed. A healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, exercise and physiotherapy can significantly reduce pain and inflammation in the joint. Read more on Osteoarthritis here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925


  • Hip Fracture: a fracture in medical terms means a broken bone. There are many different types of fractures from a hairline (small crack) to an open wound (the bone snaps and protrudes through the skin). All hip fractures are a medical emergency and must be dealt with immediately at your local hospital. Depending on the type of fracture the treatment may involve surgical repair followed by physiotherapy for rehabilitation. Causes of a hip fracture can range from a fall or other trauma like a car accident, or from weak bones secondary to Osteoporosis or nutritional problems. Read more on hip fracture here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hip-fracture/symptoms-causes/syc-20373468


  • Bursitis: this is a painful condition that affects the outside of your hip/upper thigh. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that stops the tendons from creating friction on the bone. If the fluid-filled sac gets irritated and becomes inflamed it causes pain; this is the definition of Bursitis. Bursitis is not exclusive for the hip as it can occur in any joint of the body. The most common joints affected by bursitis are the hip, knee and shoulder. If you think you are suffering from Bursitis make an appointment at Physiotherapy At Woodbridge as this condition is very treatable. You can read more on Bursitis here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bursitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353242
  • Tendinitis: the tendon is a very tough piece of tissue that connects muscles to bones. If the tendons get irritated and inflamed they cause pain – this is the definition of Tendonitis. Tendonitis can happen anywhere in the body. In the hip it is usually the glutes or hip adductor tendons that become irritated and inflamed. Physiotherapy At Woodbridge has many years of experience in treating tendonitis of various joints in the body such as the hip, shoulder, elbow , hands and knee. You can read more on Tendonitis here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tendinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20378243


  • Osteoporosis: this is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle. If the bones are weak they are susceptible to bone fractures. The fracture can be the result of a fall or other trauma, or can spontaneously occur (known as compression fractures). Osteoporosis affects both me and women, but is more prevalent in females that are older and post menopausal. Long term use of medications like steroids can also lead to Osteoporosis. Treatment can include healthy diet, exercise, and medications. You should see a medical doctor for a bone density test and medications, and a physiotherapist for information on exercise, education and healthy living. Read more on Osteoporosis here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968


  • Low Back Pain: if you have pain in your lower back it can radiate into your hip joint. In this particular instance you do not have hip pain you have a lower back problem. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to see the doctor or physiotherapist. Symptoms can range from shooting, burning or stabbing sensation that can radiate down the front or back of your leg. Low back pain if very treatable with physiotherapy. Physiotherapy at Woodbridge has many years of experience in treating low back pain and our therapists use a system of diagnosis and treatment called the McKenzie Technique. Read more on the Mckenzie Technique here: Mckenzie Technique – Physiotherapy at Woodbridge (armelc28.sg-host.com). In rare cases low back pain can become a medical emergency and you must seek immediate medical attention. This is known as cauda equina syndrome and symptoms may include:
    • Bladder and/or bower problems – you may not be able to pee or are not able to hold it
    • Severe or progressive leg symptoms eg. Loss of sensation between the legs, over the buttocks, the inner thighs and in buttocks (the saddle area), feet/heels

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Our clinicians at Physiotherapy At Woodbridge will make a thorough physiotherapy assessment which will be conducted on your first visit. This will give your clinician the necessary indication of what your diagnosis is. The diagnosis will be explained, and a treatment plan will be co-ordinated with you. Quite often pain control is the first port of call for your therapist to address. The therapist may use modalities and treatments such as:

  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Laser
  • Manual therapy
  • Kinesio-Taping
  • Exercise
  • Education

As once as your pain is beginning to subside your therapist will most likely use hands on techniques called manual therapy. Manual therapy can involve deep tissue massage, mobilizations, or soft tissue release techniques. Exercise prescription and education are also an important part of the treatment plan. This is because it is important you learn about your condition and how-to self manage in the long term. Sometimes a knee brace and/or orthotics will be recommended.  Lifestyle modifications, pacing, postural education and gradual return to sport or regular daily activities will be covered.

How Long Does it Take to Recover?

There is no easy answer to this question as everyone’s recovery is completely individualized. You will need an assessment by one of our highly trained therapists at Physiotherapy At Woodbridge. If you have a chronic condition that has been causing pain for many months or years, then your recovery will likely take longer. To give you a general ballpark on recovery time I would say a straight-forward strain would take 3-6 weeks for recovery. For more chronic conditions the recovery time may range anywhere from 6 weeks to many months. Physiotherapy can speed up a person’s recovery but the condition and tissue inside the body will have a natural healing pace that must be completed as the body heals. Studies have shown ff you are consistent with your stretching and strengthening programs your recovery will be faster. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding you hip pain. Call us today for a free 10min phone consultation.

Need More Info?

Physiotherapy@Woodbridge aims to not only recover you from injury but to prevent future injuries. Our aim is to provide you with the background information as to the cause of your injury which will help you maintain and prevent future problems. Rehabilitation should make you stronger and more resilient for your future activity.

Take a look at our home page under our services for information or if you have an injury and would like to book in for assessment then please contact us or book an appointment with us online.

Thanks for reading our blog and if you need any advice – please get in touch

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