Hip Injuries

Balance Dysfunction

This condition is characterized by feelings of unsteadiness while walking.  Balance is an art managed by the eyes, ears and proprioceptors (receptors that register body position) working together.  When any of these pathways are disrupted or degenerate, balance dysfunction occurs.  Symptoms include inability to walk straight, feeling unsteady, unable to stand without swaying and overall lack of coordination.

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Physical therapy works to restore the relationship between the ankle, leg and hip to move together in walking.  By strengthening coordination, balance can be restored.

IT Band Syndrome

Also known as “snapping hip”, this condition results when a muscle or tendon moves over a bony structure.  For the hip, it is when the iliotibial band (IT Band) moves over the greater trochanter portion of the thigh bone (this is where the thigh bone and hip connect).  During movement, the snapping motion will be felt or heard.  Causes include general aging, overuse of the joint and previous injury or trauma that allowed the band to start movement. This condition is also one that can occur over the knee.

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If it is painless, treatment is not necessary.  Otherwise, physical therapy will stretch the hip to prevent the band from snapping over the bone.

Labral Tear

The labrum is cartilage that surrounds the hip joint.  It is also present in the shoulder joint.  There are two types of labral tear injuries: degenerative and traumatic.  Degenerative is when repetitive use causes the tear and it is often seen accompanied by hip arthritis.  A traumatic tear is when sudden twisting movements, a fall, an accident or a dislocation causes the tear.  Symptoms include pain in the groin, snapping sensations in the hip and limited motion of the joint.

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Physical therapy will delegate exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles to ease pain as well as stretch to increase range of motion.

Osteo Arthritis of the Hip

Arthritis is the result of the cartilage that surrounds the hip joint being worn away so there is increase friction between the bones.  The main causes are extensive overuse of the joint and aging.  Symptoms include stiffness in the groin, buttock and thigh when waking up, pain that flares during activity and is relieved during rest.

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Physical therapy will engage the patient in gentle exercises to keep the joint functioning and to improve strength as well as range of motion.

Greater Trochanter Bursitis

A bursa is a small jelly-like sac located around most important joints and they act as cushions between bones and overlying soft tissues. The greater trochanter is the bony part of the hip and it is an important attachment point for the muscles that move the hip.  This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the bursae surround this joint.   Symptoms include pain, sharp at first and then becomes more achy,  around the hip and it may radiate to the outside of the thigh. Risk factors include overuse of the hip, previous hip injury, a spinal disease, rheumatoid arthritis and bone spurs.

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The best treatment is an injection of corticosteroid with a local anesthetic and afterward physical therapy can work to stretch out the hip to ease inflammation.