What Are Hip Disorders?
Hip disorders are disorders that affect the hip joint. The hip
joint is a ball and socket that allows the thigh to move in different
directions. It also allows the hips to support the weight of the body. Inside
the hip joint is cartilage, the tough but flexible substance that lines the ends
of joints. The hip joint resides inside a capsule containing lubricating fluid,
which helps the hip move smoothly. Ligaments keep the ball of the joint from
slipping out of the socket. Hip disorders can affect any of these parts,
including ligaments and cartilage.
What Causes Hip Disorders?
Hip disorders are often due to developmental conditions,
injuries, chronic conditions, or infections.
Degeneration of cartilage in the joint causes osteoarthritis.
This makes the cartilage split and become brittle. In some cases, pieces of the
cartilage break off in the hip joint. Once the cartilage wears down enough, it
fails to cushion the hip bones, causing pain and inflammation.
This condition occurs when a newborn baby has a dislocated hip or
a hip that easily dislocates. A shallow hip socket that allows the ball to easily
slip in and out is the cause of developmental dysplasia.
This disease affects children between the ages of 3 and 11.
Perthes disease is the result of reduced blood supply to bone cells. This
causes some of the bone cells in the femur to die and the bone to lose
Irritable Hip Syndrome
Irritable hip syndrome can be common in children after an upper
respiratory infection. It causes hip pain that results in limping. In most
cases it resolves by itself.
Soft Tissue Pain and Referred Pain
Pain in the hip may be due to an injury or defect affecting the
soft tissues outside of the hip. This is known as referred pain.
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
A slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a separation of the ball
of the hip joint from the thigh bone (femur) at the upper growing end (growth
plate) of the bone. This is only seen in growing children. Surgically stabilizing the joint with pins is
a common effective treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of a Hip Disorder?
The hip is a complicated joint made of bone, cartilage,
ligaments, muscle, and a lubricating fluid. As a result, the symptoms of a hip
disorder will differ depending on the cause of the disorder and the part of the
hip joint that’s causing problems. Common symptoms of a hip disorder include:
- pain in the hip
- reduced movement in the hip joint
- referred pain (may be felt in the leg)
- muscle stiffness
- pain in the leg when you apply weight on that
People with arthritis may experience chronic pain and pain when
walking. If you fall or have an accident involving your leg and you develop
swelling or pain in your hip, seek medical attention immediately. These are
signs that a fracture may be present. An untreated fracture can cause serious
How Are Hip Disorders Diagnosed?
If you have hip pain, your doctor will perform a physical
examination and run imaging tests to try to diagnose the cause. A simple visual
examination of the hip may reveal a deformity or injury. Your doctor will often
manipulate your leg in different directions, looking for resistance, a popping
sensation, or pain. These can indicate the source of the hip problem. However,
more tests may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Common imaging tests used to diagnose hip disorders include:
- bone scan
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Imaging tests allow the doctor to view the hip in detail. They’ll
be able to see any fractures, deformities, or swelling using these imaging
Your doctor may choose to do a bone biopsy to check for
abnormalities in the bone and surrounding tissues. During a bone biopsy, a surgeon will use a
needle to take a small sample of your bone. The sample may reveal abnormalities
in the bone’s cells. This will lead the doctor to the cause of the hip
What Are the Treatments for Hip Disorders?
treat inflammation caused by arthritis. Medications also relieve the pain
associated with hip disorders. Pain relief medications are often helpful in
treating irritable hip syndrome and soft tissue pain.
often correct fractures and severe arthritis. A treatment for slipped capital
femoral epiphysis is to screw the femoral head back into place, preventing it
from slipping out again. Repair to some of the tendons, cartilage, or ligaments
may be possible. In extreme cases, especially in people with severe arthritis
or an injury, hip replacement surgery (hip arthroplasty) may be a possibility.
The total hip prosthesis is made of metal or a type of ceramic or polyethelene
(type of plastic), and has several components, including a ball and a socket.
They are resistant to corrosion and wear and tear. Hip replacement surgery is a
fairly major procedure, but most people will resume most normal activities by
six to eight weeks after surgery.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook?
Complications of a hip disorder include the inability to walk
properly and the possibility of lifelong treatment for chronic pain. Some
people may have permanent deformities due to the disorder. Depending on the
severity of the disorder, you may need several surgeries to correct it.