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How to Know If You Have a Hip Injury

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And why it could be caused by one of these 5 overuse injuries

Posted by Cory J. Keller, DO

Some aches and pains are caused by too much of a good thing. That may be the case if you’ve hurt your hip, because you’ve used it too much.

In my practice, I see many athletes with overuse injuries from repetitive movements, like running, jumping or biking. These kinds of injuries can happen when the body does not have enough time to heal between activities. Athletes are particularly prone to overuse injuries, but anyone who is very active can get them.

Elbows, shoulders, knees, wrists and ankles are common locations for overuse injuries. And so are the hips.

If your hips hurt, the culprit might be an overuse injury caused by one of these 5 conditions:

1. Hip Strains

While hip strains can happen suddenly — like from a fall or a hit — they can also be caused by overuse. A hip becomes strained when one of the muscles supporting the hip joint is stretched beyond its limit or is torn.

Strains can be mild, moderate or severe, and can cause symptoms such as pain or tenderness in the hip. You might also have swelling, weakness or a limited range of motion.

2. Hip Bursitis

Bursae are jellylike sacs located throughout the body, including around the hips. The sacs contain fluid and are located between bones and soft tissues that act as cushions to reduce friction. Bursitis develops when one of these sacs becomes inflamed or swollen. Repetitive stress, or overuse, is a risk factor.

In its early stages, hip bursitis can cause sharp, intense pains that spread down the outside of your thigh. Later, the pain can begin to feel like an ache that spreads throughout your hip. The pain may be worse at night, and it may also be painful to get up from a sitting position.

3. Snapping Hip Syndrome

If you hear a pop or feel a snap in your hip when you walk, get up from a seated position, or move your legs in other ways, you may have snapping hip syndrome.

It can occur in different areas of the hip, and while it’s not always painful, snapping hip that affects the outside of the hip may lead to bursitis.

4. Hip Osteoarthritis

This wear-and-tear arthritis can affect the hips of anyone who overexerts their hip joints regularly — particularly in a job or while playing sports or exercising.

It can cause pain, achiness, stiffness and swelling, and limit your range of motion. Hip osteoarthritis can also lead to pain in the groin area or buttocks, or even on the inside of the knee or thigh.

5. Hip Tendonitis

Tendons are tough, fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Hip tendons can become inflamed from injury or repetitive stress, causing a condition called tendonitis. Tendons can also become torn from overuse.

When to See a Doctor for Hip Overuse Injury

Hip pain can be frustrating, and treating it often requires a lot of patience. The good news is that most overuse injuries improve with things like rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medicines.

For hip pain that does not go away, there are medical treatments that a sports medicine specialist can determine are best for you. These include physical therapy, injections or minimally invasive surgery.

To find out which treatment is right for your overuse hip injury, schedule an appointment with one of our sports medicine specialists at Temple Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. You can also call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536).

Helpful Resources

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Cory J. Keller, DO

Cory Keller, DO, is Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. His clinical interests include sports medicine, throwing and running injuries, and overuse syndrome. He is also a member of several organizations, including the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the Delaware Valley Society for Sports Medicine.

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