Common Hip Injuries

Common Hip Injuries

Understanding Hip Injuries

The hip joint is one of the body's largest and most important joints. It plays a crucial role in weight-bearing and movement, making it susceptible to various injuries. Understanding common hip injuries can help in recognizing symptoms early and seeking appropriate treatment. This guide delves into the most prevalent hip injuries, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options.


Anatomy of the Hip Joint

The Structure of the Hip

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint formed where the thigh bone (femur) meets the pelvic bone. This joint allows for a wide range of motion, including walking, running, and jumping. The hip joint is surrounded by muscles, tendons, and ligaments that provide stability and support.

Key Components

Femoral Head: The rounded top of the femur that fits into the socket of the pelvic bone.

Acetabulum: The socket in the pelvis that holds the femoral head.

Cartilage: A smooth, rubbery tissue that covers the ends of bones in joints, allowing for smooth movement.

Labrum: A ring of cartilage that follows the outside rim of the acetabulum, adding stability to the joint.

Common Hip Injuries

1. Hip Flexor Strain

What is a Hip Flexor Strain?

A hip flexor strain occurs when the muscles at the front of the hip, responsible for lifting the knee and bending at the waist, are overstretched or torn. This injury is common among athletes and individuals who engage in activities that involve sudden movements or high kicks.


  • Sharp pain in the front of the hip or groin
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty walking or lifting the leg


  • Rest and avoid activities that aggravate the injury
  • Ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles
  • Consult a physiotherapist for personalized rehabilitation plans

2. Hip Labral Tear

What is a Hip Labral Tear?

The labrum is a ring of cartilage that follows the outside rim of the socket of the hip joint. A tear in the labrum can occur due to trauma, repetitive movements, or degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.


  • Deep pain in the hip or groin
  • Clicking, locking, or catching sensation in the hip
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion
  • Pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or standing


  • Anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain
  • Physical therapy to improve joint mechanics and strengthen surrounding muscles
  • Surgical intervention in severe cases

Learn more about hip pain and labral tears

3. Osteoarthritis of the Hip

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones to wear away over time. This leads to bone-on-bone contact, causing pain, swelling, and decreased mobility.


  • Persistent pain and stiffness in the hip
  • Swelling and tenderness around the joint
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest


  • Lifestyle modifications, such as weight management and low-impact exercises
  • Physical therapy to maintain joint function and reduce pain
  • Medications like pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
  • In severe cases, surgical options like hip replacement

Read more about osteoarthritis of the hip....

Prevention and Management

Importance of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in both preventing and managing hip injuries. By focusing on strengthening the muscles around the hip joint and improving flexibility, physical therapy can help maintain joint health and reduce the risk of injuries. Choosing the right physiotherapist is essential for effective treatment and recovery.

Role of Clinical Pilates

Clinical Pilates is an excellent method for enhancing core strength, stability, and overall body alignment. It is particularly beneficial for individuals recovering from hip injuries as it focuses on controlled movements that improve muscle coordination and balance. Explore the benefits of Clinical Pilates for hip injury rehabilitation.

Regular Exercise and Stretching

Incorporating regular exercise and stretching into your routine can help keep the hip joint flexible and strong. Activities like swimming, walking, and specific stretching exercises for the hip flexors and extensors can significantly reduce the risk of injuries. Discover exercises to prevent hip injuries.

 This concludes the first section of our comprehensive guide on common hip injuries. Stay tuned for the next sections, where we will explore more hip conditions, advanced treatment options, and tips for maintaining hip health.

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More Common Hip Injuries

4. Hip Bursitis

What is Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, which are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near the hip joint. This condition is often caused by repetitive motion or prolonged pressure on the hip.


  • Sharp pain on the outer side of the hip
  • Pain that worsens with activity or pressure
  • Swelling and warmth around the affected area
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected side


  • Rest and avoid activities that exacerbate the pain
  • Apply ice to reduce inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the hip muscles and improve flexibility
  • In severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be necessary

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5. Hip Impingement (Femoroacetabular Impingement)

What is Hip Impingement?

Hip impingement occurs when there is abnormal contact between the femoral head and the acetabulum, causing damage to the joint. This can be due to bone spurs or other structural abnormalities.


  • Deep pain in the groin or front of the hip
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or physical activity
  • Clicking or locking sensation in the hip


  • Activity modification to avoid movements that cause pain
  • Physical therapy to improve hip mechanics and strengthen the muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • In severe cases, arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs and repair joint damage

6. Hip Fractures

What are Hip Fractures?

Hip fractures are breaks in the upper part of the femur, often caused by falls or direct blows to the hip. They are more common in older adults due to weakened bones from osteoporosis.


  • Severe pain in the hip or groin
  • Inability to move or bear weight on the affected leg
  • Swelling and bruising around the hip
  • Shortening of the affected leg


  • Surgical intervention to repair or replace the fractured bone
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Pain management with medications

Find out more about hip fracture rehabilitation

7. Snapping Hip Syndrome

What is Snapping Hip Syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome, also known as dancer's hip, is characterized by a snapping sensation or sound in the hip during movement. This can be caused by tendons catching on bones or moving over bony protrusions.


  • Snapping sensation or sound in the hip when walking, rising from a chair, or swinging the leg
  • Pain and discomfort in the hip
  • In some cases, inflammation of the tendons


  • Rest and avoid activities that trigger the snapping
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Physical therapy to improve hip mechanics
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling

8. Hip Dislocation

What is Hip Dislocation?

A hip dislocation occurs when the femoral head is forced out of the acetabulum. This is a serious injury often caused by high-impact trauma, such as car accidents or falls from significant heights.


  • Severe pain in the hip and inability to move the leg
  • Visible deformity of the hip joint
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Numbness or weakness in the affected leg


Immediate medical attention to reposition the femoral head

Immobilization and rest to allow healing

Physical therapy to restore range of motion and strength

In some cases, surgery may be required to repair damage to the joint or surrounding tissues

Advanced Treatment Options

Physiotherapy for Hip Injuries

Physiotherapy is a cornerstone in the treatment and rehabilitation of hip injuries. A physiotherapist can design a personalised program to address the specific needs of the patient, focusing on pain relief, restoring function, and preventing future injuries. Learn more about the benefits of physiotherapy.

  • Techniques Used in Physiotherapy
  • Manual therapy to improve joint mobility
  • Strengthening exercises to support the hip joint
  • Stretching exercises to enhance flexibility
  • Education on proper body mechanics and posture
  • Modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation for pain relief
  • Surgical Interventions

When is Surgery Needed?

Surgery is often considered when conservative treatments fail to provide relief or in cases of severe hip injuries. Conditions such as advanced osteoarthritis, hip fractures, and severe labral tears may require surgical intervention.

Common Surgical Procedures

Hip Arthroscopy: Minimally invasive surgery to repair labral tears, remove bone spurs, and address other joint issues.

Hip Replacement: Replacing the damaged hip joint with a prosthetic implant, commonly used for severe arthritis or fractures.

Hip Resurfacing: A bone-preserving alternative to hip replacement, suitable for younger, active patients.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is critical for a successful recovery following hip surgery. A structured rehab program helps in regaining strength, mobility, and function, ensuring a smooth transition back to daily activities.

Components of a Rehab Program

  • Gradual progression of weight-bearing activities
  • Strengthening exercises for the hip and surrounding muscles
  • Range of motion exercises to prevent stiffness
  • Balance and coordination training
  • Pain management techniques

Maintaining Hip Health

Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining hip health. Engaging in exercises that strengthen the muscles around the hip joint and improve flexibility can help prevent injuries and degenerative conditions.

Recommended Exercises

Walking: A low-impact exercise that promotes joint health.

Swimming: Provides a full-body workout without putting stress on the joints.

Yoga and Pilates: Enhance flexibility, strength, and balance. Discover the benefits of Pilates.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D supports bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a common cause of hip fractures. Incorporate foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified cereals into your diet.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on the hip joints and lowers the risk of developing conditions like osteoarthritis. Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are key components of weight management.

Proper Footwear

Wearing supportive shoes can help maintain proper alignment and reduce the risk of hip injuries. Avoid high heels and shoes that do not provide adequate arch support.

Regular Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help detect early signs of hip problems and prevent complications. If you experience persistent hip pain or discomfort, seek medical advice promptly.

Role of Preventive Care

Preventive care, including routine physical exams and screenings for bone density, plays a crucial role in maintaining hip health. Early detection and intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming serious problems.

This concludes the second section of our comprehensive guide on common hip injuries. Stay tuned for the final section, where we will discuss advanced diagnostic techniques, home care tips, and frequently asked questions about hip injuries.

 Advanced Diagnostic Techniques

Imaging Studies


X-rays are a fundamental diagnostic tool for evaluating hip injuries. They can reveal fractures, dislocations, and signs of osteoarthritis. X-rays provide a clear image of the bone structure, helping doctors diagnose and plan treatment effectively.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

An MRI is a more advanced imaging technique that provides detailed images of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. It is particularly useful for diagnosing labral tears, hip impingement, and soft tissue injuries.

CT (Computed Tomography) Scans

CT scans offer a more detailed view of the hip's bone structure and can help in diagnosing complex fractures and bone abnormalities. This imaging technique is often used when more detailed information is needed beyond what X-rays can provide.

Diagnostic Injections

Purpose of Diagnostic Injections

Diagnostic injections involve injecting a local anesthetic and/or corticosteroid into the hip joint to confirm the source of pain. If the pain is relieved following the injection, it indicates that the hip joint is the source of the problem.

Types of Injections

Intra-articular Hip Injections: Target the hip joint directly to diagnose and treat conditions like osteoarthritis and labral tears.

Bursa Injections: Aim at reducing inflammation and pain in cases of hip bursitis.


What is Hip Arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used both for diagnosis and treatment. It involves inserting a small camera (arthroscope) into the hip joint to visualize the inside and identify any issues. This technique is used to diagnose conditions that may not be visible through imaging studies alone.


  • Less invasive than traditional surgery
  • Faster recovery time
  • Reduced risk of complications

Home Care Tips for Hip Injuries

RICE Method


Rest is crucial for allowing the injured hip to heal. Avoid activities that put stress on the hip joint to prevent further damage.


Applying ice packs to the affected area can help reduce swelling and numb the pain. Use ice for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.


Compression with an elastic bandage can help control swelling. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tightly, as this can restrict blood flow.


Elevating the hip can help reduce swelling. Try to keep the affected hip elevated above the level of your heart as much as possible.

Gentle Exercises


Gentle stretching exercises can help maintain flexibility and reduce stiffness. Focus on stretches that target the hip flexors, extensors, and rotators.


Strengthening exercises are essential for supporting the hip joint and preventing future injuries. Work on strengthening the muscles around the hip, including the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Pain Management

Over-the-Counter Medications

Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare provider if needed.

Heat Therapy

Applying heat to the hip can help relax muscles and improve blood flow. Use a heating pad or warm towel for 15-20 minutes at a time.

Ergonomic Adjustments

Maintaining proper posture can alleviate stress on the hip joint. Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor, and avoid crossing your legs for prolonged periods.

Supportive Furniture

Use chairs with good lumbar support and consider adding cushions to improve comfort. Sleeping on a firm mattress can also help maintain proper hip alignment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Injuries


What Should I Do If I Suspect a Hip Injury?

If you suspect a hip injury, it's important to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further damage and improve recovery outcomes. Rest the affected hip, apply ice, and avoid activities that exacerbate the pain.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Hip Injury?

Recovery time varies depending on the type and severity of the injury. Minor strains and sprains may heal within a few weeks, while more severe injuries, such as fractures or labral tears, may require several months of rehabilitation.

Can Hip Injuries Be Prevented?

While not all hip injuries can be prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing proper body mechanics can help keep your hips healthy and strong. Wearing appropriate footwear and using protective gear during sports can also minimize the risk of injury.

When Is Surgery Necessary for Hip Injuries?

Surgery is typically considered when conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and medications, fail to provide relief. Conditions like severe osteoarthritis, hip fractures, and significant labral tears may require surgical intervention to restore function and alleviate pain.

How Can Physiotherapy Help with Hip Injuries?

Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for hip injuries, focusing on pain relief, strengthening, and restoring function. A physiotherapist can design a personalized rehabilitation program tailored to your specific needs, helping you recover and prevent future injuries. Learn more about choosing the right physiotherapist.

What Are the Signs of a Serious Hip Injury?

Signs of a serious hip injury include severe pain, inability to bear weight on the affected leg, visible deformity, swelling, and bruising. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.


Understanding common hip injuries, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for maintaining hip health and preventing complications. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can significantly improve recovery outcomes and quality of life. Whether you're dealing with a minor strain or a more serious condition, seeking professional advice and following a comprehensive care plan can help you get back to your regular activities with minimal disruption.


For more information on hip injuries and rehabilitation, visit our blog or consult with one of our experienced physiotherapists at PhysioChoice. Taking proactive steps today can ensure a healthier, more active future for your hips.


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