Hip injuries are extremely common in people of all ages. However, the more involved you are in sports and fitness, the higher the likelihood that you’ll end up with hip pain from an injury or condition.
Understanding the basic anatomy of your hip will help you to narrow down the possible injury or condition that is causing your hip pain. Let’s learn about hip anatomy and then take a look at the 3 most common hip injuries (and when you should see your doctor).
Basic Hip Anatomy
The hip joint is one of the largest and most important joints in the human body, responsible for supporting our weight, allowing for movement of the lower body and helping us to walk, run and jump!
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint made up of two main parts, the femoral head (the rounded end of the femur bone of your leg) and the acetabulum, the socket that the femoral head fits into.
Besides the joint, there are many tendons, ligaments and muscles that support the joint. The joint itself is lined with cartilage, called the labrum.
Understanding the basic anatomy of your hips can help you navigate hip injuries that you might encounter.
Related Content: 7 Injuries that might be Causing Hip Pain
Hip Flexor Strain
This injury occurs when the muscles that help you lift your knee up towards your body (hip flexors) become overstretched or torn. The hip flexors include the iliopsoas muscle, which runs from the lower spine to the thigh bone (femur), and the rectus femoris muscle, which runs from the pelvis to the knee.
- Mild pain and pulling in the front of your hip
- Difficulty walking up sloped surfaces or climbing stairs
- Sharp pain or cramping
- Difficulty walking without limping, or standing up from a chair
When to see the doctor about a hip flexor strain:
If you have extreme pain or are unable to walk or if your hip flexor pain continues longer than two weeks, visit your Primary Care Physician. There are non-surgical treatment options to help with healing.
Labral tear of the Hip
The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the hip joint. A labral tear occurs when there is damage to this cartilage, which can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
- Reduced range of motion in your hips
- Locking or clicking sensation
- Pain in the hip, groin or buttocks
- Pain when walking, running or sleeping
When to see the doctor about a labral tear:
Unfortunately, labral tears of the hip do not heal on their own. If your symptoms line up with a labral tear and your pain is not decreasing, schedule an appointment with your PCP.
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Also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), this condition occurs when the bones of the hip joint rub against each other, causing pain and limited range of motion. FAI can be caused by abnormal bone growth or shape, which can lead to damage to the labrum and cartilage in the joint.
Understanding the hip anatomy is important for diagnosing and treating these injuries. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, where the femur (ball) fits into the acetabulum (socket) of the pelvis. The joint is stabilized by a network of ligaments, tendons, and muscles, including the hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings. Proper diagnosis and treatment of hip injuries require a thorough understanding of the hip joint and surrounding structures.
Symptoms of Hip Impingement or Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
- Common among young people between the age of 20-45
- Pain in the groin or hip
- Clicking, catching or popping sensation in the hip(s)
- Pain is noticed especially after intense physical activity or sports
When to see the doctor about Hip Impingement
The pain caused by FAI is often mild for years. As soon as the pain starts to escalate, visit your PCP. There are non-surgical interventions that can help reduce the damage to your labrum and cartilage.
Key Hip Injuries Takeaway
Understanding hip anatomy is a crucial part of knowing if your hip injury or condition requires a visit to your doctor.
At Primary Healthcare, Dr. Mangum has an extensive background in Sports Medicine. He’ll perform a physical exam, and make recommendations on ways to relieve your hip pain and options for treating hip injuries or conditions. Call for an appointment at (801) 758-8735.