Pain and swelling in the hip can be very uncomfortable, and in some cases, make it impossible to walk or bend properly. Most cases of hip swelling are mild and easily treated at home through various remedies such as icing the joint, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, and engaging in light exercises. In severe instances of swelling or pain, however, a trip to a doctor's office or emergency room may be necessary to check for serious damage to bones or ligaments and the presence of underlying medical conditions. Physicians can conduct physical examinations to make diagnoses and determine the best treatment options for people who suffer from hip problems.
Hip swelling is usually the result of inflammation of the tendons, ligaments, or cartilage in and around the hip joint. It is usually caused by an injury, such as a fall, a direct blow to the hip, or an awkward twist, though certain medical conditions such as arthritis, lupus, or cancer can also result in swollen tissue. A bruised hip is especially subjected to bursitis, which is inflammation and swelling of the protective fluid-filled sacs around the hip joint. For bursitis and most other minor hip injuries that result in swelling, home treatments are often enough to promote recovery in one to two weeks.
Doctors usually recommend that people with hip swelling rest as much as possible for the first few days after symptoms arise. Excessive movement or walking with a swollen hip can cause inflammation to worsen. Regular applications of ice packs help to relieve swelling and numb local pain. Many people benefit from taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications, such as acetaminophen. When swelling begins to subside, individuals can engage in stretches and light walking to regain mobility and strength. Most people without serious injuries or illnesses fully recover in about two weeks.
A serious injury to the hip, such as a dislocation or fracture, requires immediate medical treatment. Doctors often inject high-strength anti-inflammatory and pain medicines directly into a joint. Often, a fracture or torn ligament necessitates surgery to correct problems and promote recovery. Following medical or surgical procedures for hip problems, people may be instructed to rest and ice their injuries as well as attend physical rehabilitation therapy sessions to build strength.
A person who notices hip swelling that is not the result of an injury should contact a doctor immediately to check for underlying health problems. Doctors can conduct physical examinations, order blood tests, x-ray joints, and gather information about a person's medical history to determine causes like osteoarthritis or leukemia. Once the cause of the swelling has been identified, physicians can prescribe the appropriate medications or surgical procedures necessary to relieve symptoms.