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Hip pain treatment

We offer tailored treatment for hip pain at our Bath Clinic

Hip pain is common and can affect people of all ages. About 10% of adults have hip pain at some point in their lifetime. The risk of hip pain increases with age and it is more common in people over the age of 60.

The phrase ‘hip pain’ can describe any pain you may feel in or around your hip joint. You may also feel the pain from your hip in other parts of the body, such as your groin, upper thigh, buttock, or knee. This is called ‘referred’ pain. 

On this page, we review the symptoms, causes, and potential treatments for hip pain. We also provide a short overview of how hip pain is diagnosed and treated at our Bath Clinic.

There are several things that may be causing your hip pain, and finding out which one it is will involve a thorough examination from a specialist. Some of the factors that may determine the cause of your hip pain include your age, where the pain is located, how long the pain has lasted, how the pain feels, and how severe it is.

For example, in young adults, hip pain most often occurs due to strain, sprains, contusions, or bursitis. In older adults, osteoarthritis and fractures tend to be the most common cause.

The treatment you receive for your hip pain will depend on what is causing it.

Some common causes of hip pain include:

  • Fracture
  • Hip impingement
  • Strains/tendinitis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Labral tears
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

We will take a closer look at some of these causes of hip pain below.

Fracture

You may have a fracture if:

  • You feel a sudden and sharp pain when placing weight on your leg or when rotating your hip externally
  • You are unable to put your full weight on your foot
  • You have experienced trauma that impacted your hip

People over the age of 50 are at an increased risk of hip fractures. Usually, hip pain from a fracture is felt in the front side of your hip and groin. In addition to hip pain, you may also have lower back pain and/or knee pain.

Your leg may also look shorter due to the foot being turned outwards at an odd angle. Your physician will need to perform a clinical examination and take some scans before diagnosing a fracture.

Stress fractures, which are very fine fractures due to repetitive overuse, usually occur in athletes or people with lower bone density due to other conditions such as osteoporosis. The symptoms of a stress fracture consist of a feeling of muscle strain or tendonitis in your hip.

If a fracture is found, treatment is usually surgical. Your consultant may use the surgery to strengthen and stabilise your hip bone, or you may need a hip replacement.

Osteoarthritis

This is the most common cause in adults over 50 years old. Osteoarthritis causes constant, deep pain and stiffness that gets worse if you stand for longer and put weight on your affected leg. You may develop a limp as a result and have reduced mobility in your hip. Pain may get worse if you try to rotate your hip.

Treatment for osteoarthritis of your hip usually include changes in lifestyle, specific exercises that relieve hip pain, or using a walking aid. Paracetamol or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may also help with mild and moderate to severe pain, respectively.

If the pain is severe, your consultant may prescribe the use of opioid medication in the short term. Finally, hip replacement is the last treatment option, which offers good, long-lasting results.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory joint disease. When RA affects the hip joint, you may experience pain and stiffness in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. The pain tends to get better with movement.

Treatments for RA include NSAIDs, steroids, and other disease-modifying drugs specifically for RA. The treatment may also be applied locally, in the form of hip injections.

Labral tears

The labra are cartilages that surround the rim of your hip socket, within your hip joint. If you have hip pain from labral tears, you may feel a dull or a ‘knife sharp’ pain in your groin, have a painful clunk or clicking in the hip joint, a snapping hip, or a painful ‘giving way’ sensation.

Pain from labral tears is usually felt at the front of the hip, near the groin. However, labral tears may also cause hip pain on one side and pain that radiates down the leg to the front of the thigh or buttock.

Treatments for labral tears include rest, NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, physical therapy, or cortisone injections.

Surgical treatments for labral tears will depend on what caused the tear. They include arthroscopy or hip replacements for more severe cases.

Femoroacetabular impingement, or hip impingement

Hip impingement more commonly affects young and physically active people. The pain is usually gradual and tends to get worse with sitting, getting up from a seat, getting in and out of a car, walking up a hill, or leaning forward.

In femoroacetabular impingement, bones rub against each other due to a structural problem, causing pain.

Treatments for impingement include rest, avoiding the physical activities that make the pain worse, taking NSAIDs or cortisone injections. Surgery such as arthroscopy or osteotomy may also be recommended, as well as hip replacement for more severe cases.

Bursitis

The bursa is a sac filled with fluid near the hip joint. Each hip has two bursae.

Inflammation of these bursae can lead to hip pain in two different types of bursitis:

  • Iliopectineal bursitis — can cause hip pain in the groin area, where the groin feels tender to touch
  • Bursitis trochanterica — a very common condition that typically causes hip pain on one side along with tenderness to touch in the outer side of the hip

Bursitis is often caused by repetitive movement or an injury.

Osteonecrosis of the hip (or avascular necrosis of the femoral head)

Avascular necrosis of the femoral head, often called osteonecrosis of the hip, is a condition in which the bony tissue dies due to a lack of blood supply to the head of the femur (the thighbone).

Osteonecrosis tends to affect young adults under 50 years of age. It also affects men more than women. Other underlying conditions can trigger osteonecrosis, although in many cases no underlying cause can be found.

Osteonecrosis tends to cause hip pain that is gradual and that gets worse when walking. It can show no signs on an X-ray for weeks or even months. The hip pain is usually felt in the groin area, but it can radiate down the leg to the thigh.

Osteonecrosis can progress; hip pain at rest is a sign that it may be at an advanced stage. Moving the hip may be easy to do in the early stages of the condition, but this will be limited in more advanced stages.

The most effective treatment options for osteonecrosis involve surgery.

Strains and tendonitis

A strain is acute damage to the muscle or tendon, while tendonitis is when a tendon swells (becomes inflamed) after a tendon injury. Tendonitis is usually caused by chronic overuse of a joint.

Hip pain from a strain is felt in the medial thigh or the front of the groin area. Squeezing something between the knees may cause pain. The strain can be hip flexor strain, groin strain, or hamstring strain.

Hip flexors are a group of muscles located toward the front of the hip. They help you lift your knee up towards your body.

Hip flexor pain is felt in the front area where the thigh meets your hip. A strain in the hip flexors may cause pain in the front of the hip, difficulty walking, getting out of a seat, climbing, and so on. The front of the thigh may have some swelling.

Hip pain from strains and tendonitis tends to improve with rest, applying ice, and avoiding activities that cause pain. Your consultant may recommend physiotherapy, which includes mild exercises and stretching. NSAIDs may also help relieve the pain immediately after the strain.

Surgery is reserved for severe tears in the tendons and severe muscle strain.

Piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated by the piriformis muscle. Piriformis syndrome can cause a sciatica-like dull pain in the hip and buttock that gets worse when sitting or walking. The hip pain can irradiate down the back of the leg.

Piriformis may result from a trauma to the buttock or from prolonged sitting.

Treatment includes stretching exercises that your consultant may prescribe, NSAIDs, rest, and correcting the activity that caused the syndrome and pain.

Other causes of hip pain

Hip pain may also be caused by:

  • Neurological disorders such as Meralgia paraesthetica
  • Tumours (either benign or malignant) and cancer lesions
  • Septic arthritis — this is a medical emergency characterised by serious pain on movement, complete inability to bear any weight on the leg, feeling severely ill, and having a fever.

Your consultant will perform a thorough examination to exclude the above causes.

Hip pain and referred pain

It is important to note that pain that is felt in the hip can sometimes signal a problem with another organ or part of the body altogether. This ‘referred’ pain that is felt in the hip may reflect an issue in the lower back or even in the knees.

Moreover, there are major blood vessels and nerves that go across the hip on their way from inside your abdomen and to the periphery of your legs. Because of this, urological, gynaecological, and gastrointestinal problems can also cause ‘hip pain’.

“If the pain intrusive and if it's disturbing your sleep, it is quite important to get it checked out,” says Bath Clinic’s Dr. Pope.

How the pain begins is also important. “If it’s a very slow and insidious onset, if the pain is gradually getting worse, and if it is associated with stiffness, it's probably more likely to be a degenerative condition [such as arthritis],” he explains.

“But, if the pain is more sudden, or associated with other symptoms of being generally unwell, then it is better to be seen sooner rather than later in case it's something else within the hip that's causing pain.”

“[This] is very unusual,” adds Dr. Pope, “but could be a possibility.”

“It's quite common for hip pain to radiate down the leg as far as the knee, especially if it's associated with arthritis of the hip,” explains Dr. Steve Pope.

Dr. Pope is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Circle Health Group’s Bath Clinic.

“We often see patients who present with pain in their knee and they believe the problem is actually in their knee. But when we investigate them, it's not uncommon to find that their knee is pretty much normal, and they've got a very arthritic hip. So, what we call referred pain from the hip spreads down the side towards the knee.”

In addition to arthritis, there are a few other conditions that may cause pain that radiates down your leg, on the front of your thigh or on the back of your leg. These include:

  • Labral tears
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Sciatica, also known as lumbar spine radiculopathy                                         

In sciatica, explains Dr. Pope, the pain “tends to start in the buttock and radiate down through the thigh and down below the knee. There are often neurological symptoms associated with it, such as pins and needles and potentially some weakness or other neurological symptoms in the leg.”

“Sciatic pain, classically, would go all the way down to the ankle or the foot,” he explains, while “hip problems usually wouldn’t do that.” 

Situated in an area that is both convenient and surrounded by outstanding natural beauty, Bath Clinic provides fast access to excellent diagnosis and treatment for common conditions such as hip pain.

The clinic’s excellent patient satisfaction scores are a testament to the patient-centred approach that the clinic prides itself on.

In the latest patient satisfaction surveys, nearly 98% of patients said they were likely or extremely likely to recommend Bath Clinic to their friends and family, and 98% rated the quality of their care as “very good” or “excellent.” NHS patients have also described the care they received at Bath Clinic as “excellent” and “faultless.”

Diagnosing hip pain

To help diagnose and treat the cause of your hip pain, our consultants will be talking to you and asking a series of questions about your health. This is so they can have a thorough history of you as a patient.

They will also be performing a thorough physical examination and may ask for imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. The specialist may also ask for blood tests to see whether the cause of your hip pain is an infection or inflammatory.

Treating hip pain

The hip pain treatment you will receive at Bath Clinic will depend on what is causing your hip pain.

Bath Clinic offers ‘tailor-made’ treatment options depending on the patient's age, explains Dr. Pope. For example, a younger patient with arthritis may need an uncemented hip prosthesis, whereas an elder patient may require a cemented hip prosthesis.

Bath Clinic also offers:

Your consultant will walk you through your treatment options and work with you to decide on the most suitable treatment for you. 

Bath Clinic is located on Claverton Down Road, Combe Down, Bath, BA2 7BR.

For directions on how to get there by rail, by bus, or by road from Bristol, the M4, or from Chippenham.   

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:   

  • Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
  • The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
  • Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs  
  • Private en-suite rooms as standard 
  • Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
  • Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end  
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included  
  • Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care

If you want to know more about hip pain treatment with us, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Specialists offering Hip pain treatment

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Mr Harvey Sandhu

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MA MBB Chir FRCS (Tr & Orth)

Bath Clinic

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Mr Julian Foote

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB BCh, FRCS (Tr and Orth) Ed

Bath Clinic

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Mr James Berstock

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBChB, MRCS, FRCS, MD, PGCertMedEd

Bath Clinic

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Mr Steve Pope

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

BSc MBBS FRCS(Eng) FRCSI FRCS(Orth)

Bath Clinic

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Mr Alistair Charles Ross

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

M.B., B.S., F.R.C.S.,

Bath Clinic

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