A hip injury and pain can make it hard to
walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking
or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint (snapping hip) may
bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip is not painful, in many cases
the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment may be all that is
needed for minor hip symptoms.
To better understand hip injuries,
it may be helpful to know how the
hip works. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in
the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket
(acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the
shoulder joint but it does not move as freely. The hip joint is held together
by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint
capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint
and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in
the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
Injuries are a common cause of hip
problems. You may not remember a specific injury, especially if your symptoms
began slowly or during everyday activities.
- Overuse injuries occur from repeating the same
activity. The repeated activity, such as running or bicycling long distances,
stresses the hip joint and may cause irritation and inflammation. Examples of
overuse injuries include irritation of the large sac (bursae) that cushions the
bones of the hip joint (trochanteric bursitis), irritation of the tendons in
the hip (tendinitis),
muscle strain, and hairline cracks (stress fracture) in the neck of the thighbone
- A sudden (acute) injury may occur from a fall on the hip,
a direct blow to the hip or knee, or abnormal twisting or bending of the leg. Examples of acute injuries that may cause hip pain include:
Treatment for a hip injury depends on the location, type,
and severity of the injury as well as your age, general health, and activities
(such as work, sports, hobbies). Treatment may include first aid measures;
application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy;
medicines; or surgery.
Check your symptoms to
decide if and when you should see a doctor.