Most women in their early 50’s may wake up in the morning and observe some unusualities in their hip joints. They may observe the sudden, sharp pain when they try to stand or squat —pain that wasn’t there the day before. Our hip actions play an essential role in our activities of daily living. A loss in mobility due to hip problems can be crippling and render us unproductive.
Hip pains are more prevalent in women than in men. Chronic hip pain can have a variety of causes. Hip pains can also worsen if you have underlying joint problems which subsequently can hamper your range of motion. Thus, determining the actual cause of the hip pain is very important before treatment is begun.
How are hip problems determined?
Your physician should confirm if there is indeed a problem with your hip with the use of X-ray, CT scan, and other physical assessment procedures.
Women might say they have hip pain, but what they may mean is they have pain in the side of the upper thigh or upper buttock, or they may be experiencing lower back pain – Stephanie E. Siegrist, MD
We commonly feel this pain in the groin area or outside the hip where our hip joint is located.
The usual causes of hip pain in women are:
Fractures – Fractures are common in elderly women particularly those who are diagnosed with osteoporosis. A fracture causes pain and discomfort when you lift or stand on your leg. Toes on your affected side may appear to turn out. This is a sign that might help your physician’s initial diagnosis.
Arthritis –This is the common cause of hip pains among women especially osteoarthritis. This happens when your hip joints start to wear out. The pain can be often felt in the thigh or groin area due to stiffness and swelling in the hip joint.
Bursitis/Tendinitis – Several tendons around our hip attaches the muscle to the joints. The tendons can become inflamed once overused or due to strenuous activities.
One of the causes of tendinitis is iliotibial band syndrome, a condition that affects many runners. Our iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue that begins in our outer rim of the pelvis, then runs down on the outside part of the thigh, and finally ends in our shinbone.
Bursitis is another common cause of hip pain. The fluid-filled sacs known as bursae cushions the bony part of our hips, these sacs can become inflamed from overuse.
Gynecological and Back problems – Your hip pain can be caused by another system such as reproductive and nervous systems problems.
“It’s important not to just assume that the pain is caused by arthritis, bursitis or tendinitis.” – Stephanie E. Siegrist, MD
Other causes of hip pain:
- Sciatica – a condition wherein a compressed spinal nerve causes pains in the lower back, hips down to your legs.
- Endometriosis – The tissue that lines your endometrium grows outside your uterus in this painful condition.
- Hernia – Sports hernias like femoral and inguinal hernias can cause frontal hip pain. Pregnant females are vulnerable to an inguinal hernia because of the increased pressure from on the abdominal wall.
How do we manage hip pain
The treatment and therapy for hip pain will depend on your doctor’s diagnosis. Minor injuries or overuse can be treated with heat packs, rest and over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Do some warm-ups like stretching before engaging in an exercise or strenuous activities to avoid injuries.
Being overweight or obese can add pressure to your hip joints — losing pounds can help provide relief.
Some cases of hip pains may require surgical intervention such as hernias or fractures. It is always best to seek medical advice if you continue to suffer from hip pains.
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