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What Are the Different Hip Problems?

Common hip problems include hip fractures and dislocations.
An X-ray of the pelvic area, showing a prosthetic hip.
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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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Hip problems are common. Some general reasons for hip problems include injuries such as a hip fracture or dislocation. Physical activities such as sports, overusing the hip in repetitive activities, and falling may cause a hip injury. Snapping hip syndrome, hip osteonecrosis, and hip bursitis can also cause problems.

Fractures of the hip and dislocations are some common reasons for hip problems. Hip fractures can occur from a fall or overuse, and if untreated could lead to displacement of bones within the hip. Hip dislocations are another typical reason for hip pain. Dislocations can occur if the thighbone slips out from its socket in the hip bone. Both of these conditions can cause a great deal of hip pain.

Snapping hip syndrome is characterized by a snapping or popping sound in the hip upon movement. A possible cause of this hip problem can be a snapping of the main hip flexor muscle, known as the iliopsoas tendon. Snapping may occur when the hip is moved and tendons get caught on tiny pieces of bone in the pelvis. Treatment for snapping hip syndrome may include anti-inflammatory medicines and physical therapy.

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Hip osteonecrosis is a different type of hip problem. This condition occurs when the flow of blood around the hip bone is disrupted. If the blood supply to this area is restricted, cells can die, which could lead to a collapse of the hip bone. Hip pain is a common symptom of this condition; additional symptoms may include difficulty in walking and pain in the groin area. This hip problem has been associated with other conditions such as hip trauma, lupus, sickle cell anemia, and alcoholism. It may be diagnosed by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or x-ray.

Bursitis of the hip is another type of hip problem. Hip bursitis is a common cause of hip inflammation and pain occurring on the upper thigh and outside area of the hip. Generally, this condition is caused by a flare up in the bursa, which is a small sac functioning as a cushion among the bones of a joint. Swelling and tenderness over the hip and upper thigh are some common symptoms. It may be treated with rest, avoiding activities that may be strenuous on the hip, and cortisone injections to relieve pain and inflammation.

Treatment options for minor hip problems may include elevation, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications. More severe problems may require more advanced levels of treatment, such as surgery. A hip replacement may be beneficial for individuals encountering some hip problems such as osteonecrosis. Hip arthroscopy is another surgical treatment that may be used. It can be performed by a scope with a camera being placed into the hip joint, allowing the surgeon to correct any seen abnormalities.

Individuals who have a hip problem which interferes with everyday activities should see a doctor for further evaluation. The doctor will generally perform a complete examination, which may include an MRI or x-ray to diagnose the exact problem. Any treatments that may be needed will typically be discussed once the test results are revealed.

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