The hip joint is a confusing junction of tendons, muscles, and ligaments interlaced to bear loads and stabilize our movement. From an orthopedic perspective it’s one of the most complex regions in the body, and it’s not uncommon for hip pain to actually be a signal for injuries elsewhere. It’s also important to take into consideration factors such as age as well as gender, but more on that in a moment.
To start, we encounter the hip’s interior and the issue of groin pain. Groin pain is often linked to the labrum, a ring of cartilage that surrounds the hip’s socket. Labral tears are usually the result of repetitive overuse and occasionally trauma, so when younger patients complain of a clicking or catching sensation within the hip and corresponding groin pain, we make sure to check the patient’s labrum.
Moving over to the outside of the hip we find a separate set of issues: tendonitis, bursitis, and IT band syndrome. As you’d guess, these three are each in their own way linked to the physiology and forces located at the lateral side of the hip joint.
Generally, lateral hip pain sometimes corresponds to the presence of tendonitis or bursitis. Both issues are related to gradual wear and tear and repetitive overuse injuries of the hip.
However, it is the rear of the hip, near the glutes, that provides for the some curious connections. Pain in this region can range from injuries of the spine or hamstring to the radiating aches of sciatic problems. It is common for patients to complain of rear hip pain only to find out that it’s related to their back or hamstring. There’s just so much going on at that region that it bears the brunt of injuries elsewhere or simply finds itself overcompensating for weakened muscles or worn tissues.
More generally, the hip can also be the source of pain for things non-orthopedic issues such as hernias. As we mentioned earlier, gender can also presuppose certain hip conditions as some gynecological pains radiate to the hip. In most situations, the type of injury as well as one’s physiology factor into whether the hip region is affected by any one of these issues.
There’s no such thing as a crooked joint, but if you’re talking about the least straightforward one, well, you can see why some might point to the hip. And because these are all general observations, experience shows that hip pain requires careful consideration of factors arising apart from the hip itself. If your hip’s been bothering you and you’re not quite sure what’s wrong, go ahead and make an appointment today—we’re here to help your hip!