As one of the most vital parts of the human body, the hip joint is what allows for running, walking and mobility of the central and lower body. Besides the shoulder, the hip joints are the most flexible components we have, which also is what makes them vulnerable to injuries such as tears and socket dislocations.
The Anatomy of the Hips
The hips are a ball-and-socket joint that is a part of the pelvis bone, whereas the end of the thighbone, or femur, fits into the socket that is surrounded by a pliable hyaline cartilage.
The cartilage acts both as a shock absorber and lubricant to promote fluid motion in the socket and to support the joint’s synovial membranes. Surrounding the hip joint are connecting ligaments that allow for the wonderful range of motions the hips provide us with during physical activities.
Causes and Symptoms of Hip Pain
If you experience pain in or around the outer thigh, buttocks or in the groin region, it could be caused by hip issues. This can cause feelings of stiffness that worsens with vigorous activity, but certain types of hip discomfort can actually be lessened with light activity. Pain levels will vary depending on the source of the problem which may be:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Post-traumatic Arthritis
- Avascular Necrosis
- Childhood Hip Conditions
Some of these conditions can be alleviated with physical therapy and/or medication regimens while others may require some type of hip surgery.
When to Consider Hip Surgery
If medications and physical therapy, walking supports or other efforts don’t help, patients may be candidates for hip surgery such as a hip replacement. This is often a safe and effective option that can help increase motion, reduce pain and help restore one’s ability to live a full and complete life.