Physiotherapy for Hip Pain

Hip pain can be a debilitating condition that limits your ability to do everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. The hip joint is the largest and strongest joint in your body that bears weight. It’s in the ball and socket joint structure and is primarily surrounded by ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Any injury or discomforting condition of the hip will severely affect the hip joint’s range of mobility and ability to carry weight. Fortunately, hip pain can be treated. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating hip pain; each patient will require unique treatment such as physiotherapy based on their individual circumstances and symptoms.

What causes hip pain?

Hip pain is a typical health issue that affects the hip joint and can be caused by several factors, which may vary significantly from person to person.

However, many people experience hip pain due to biomechanical issues, such as misalignment, weakness, or imbalance in the muscles, bones, and nerve structure surrounding the hips.

Here are some common health conditions that are highly likely to induce hip pain:

Arthritis

Arthritis causes stiffness and pain in the joints. It can affect any joint in the body, but it most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands, and spine. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that develops when cartilage wears away from the joints. 

Cartilage is a slippery tissue that covers and protects the ends of bones where they meet at a joint. When the cartilage wears away from a joint, the bones start to rub against one another, leading to pain and inflammation. This is why arthritis can cause hip pain.

Hip pain from arthritis can be caused by many things, including:

  • Injury to the hip joint
  • Inflammation of the hip joint
  • Nerve damage at the hip joint
  • Bone loss at the hip joint
  • Lack of blood flow to the hip joint

These are the common symptoms of arthritis at the hips:

  • pain and stiffness in the joints
  • pain or discomfort in one or both sides of your hips, buttocks, thighs and lower back
  • muscle spasms

Hip Fractures

A hip fracture is a break in the upper part of the thigh bone, which can cause severe pain and disability.

Hip fractures are most commonly caused by falls from a standing height or less. Other causes include:

  • A sharp and direct blow to the hip, such as from a car accident or sports injury
  • A broken thigh bone (femur) near the hip joint
  • Osteoporosis, which weakens bones and makes them prone to fractures and cracks
  • A tumour near the hip joint
  • An infection in the bone or joint
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation and damage to joints

The break in the bone puts pressure on nearby nerves and vessels, and induces the following symptoms:

  • Extreme pain sensations in the fractured area
  • Bones become inflamed and swollen
  • Difficulty in movement
  • Sudden onset of pain in the groin region
  • Inability to put weight on one leg without assistance
  • Difficulty walking or feeling unsteady on one foot

Bursitis

The bursae are small sacs at joints that help reduce friction between two surfaces. They are filled with fluid that is released during joint movement to lessen the contact between bones and muscles.

The bursae act as a cushion between ligaments, bones, and muscles, allowing the structures to slide and glide against one another with ease and with minimal friction.

Bursitis causes inflammation and swelling in the bursa, which results in pain. It often develops in the hips due to overuse or injury to the joint. The hip can become inflamed with bursitis due to repeated pressure from sitting for long periods or an injury such as a fall.

Bursitis can also develop in other joints, such as the knees, shoulders, and elbows.

Here are the common symptoms of hip bursitis:

  • Pain on the outer part of the hip near the groin
  • Pain on the inside of the thigh near the hip joint
  • Swelling, tenderness, and warmness in and around your hip

Tendonitis

Tendinitis occurs when there is an irritation or inflammation of a tendon. It can be caused by overuse, repetitive motions, or injury.

Tendinitis can cause hip pain because it affects the tendons around the hip joint. The most usual sign of tendinitis is pain or tenderness in the affected area.

Other symptoms include:

  • Stiffness or weakness in the hip joint
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Redness or warmth around the hip joint

Hip labral tear

A hip labral tear is a painful and discomforting condition that can cause hip pain, weakness, and instability. It is caused by damage to the cartilage and ligaments around the hip joint.

The hip labral tear can be induced by a fall, twisting injury, or overuse. People with this condition may experience pain in the groin area and on the side of the hip joint. The pain may worsen when sitting, walking up the stairs, or lying on your side.

The common symptoms of a labral tear include:

  • Hip pain that worsens with activity.
  • A popping sensation when you move.
  • A feeling like something is catching or rubbing on your hip.
  • Difficulty bearing weight on one leg.

Avascular necrosis

Avascular necrosis is when the bone tissue dies due to a loss of blood supply. When this condition occurs at the hip, the blood supply to the ball and socket joint of the hip will be interrupted. Loss of blood supply may also cause tiny cracks and breaks on the bone, leading to even more painful conditions.

Various reasons can cause avascular necrosis, such as trauma, injury, medication, or even over-consumption of alcohol.

These are the common symptoms of avascular necrosis at the hip joint:

  • hip pain and stiffness in the hip joint
  • hip bone deformities
  • loss of height (due to imbalanced structure alignment)
  • weight-bearing problems

Diagnosing Hip Pain

When you feel persistent pain, swelling, and tenderness in your hips, it is better to consult a professional to identify the underlying cause and seek treatment immediately.

Medical experts have various means to determine the cause of your hip pain. They will begin by inquiring about your symptoms and medical history, including any previous injuries, illnesses, or surgeries.

They will also examine you physically and order several tests to help pinpoint the source of your pain. These are the standard tests the physician will usually call for in cases of diagnosing hip pain:

  • X-ray uses radiation to show hip dislocation, osteoarthritis, or bone fracture images.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses radio waves and a magnet to develop high-resolution images of your hip joint and the structures around them.
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scan uses a computer and x-rays to develop three-dimensional visuals of your hip structure.
  • Electromyography (EMG) tests your muscles and looks for nerve injuries.
  • Biopsy of the bursa fluid

Hip Pain Treatment

It is highly recommended to seek expert advice if you’re feeling persistent pain or discomfort in your hips. Once your physician has diagnosed your hip pain and identified its cause, these are some common treatments your physician would typically recommend:

  • Hip surgery to repair tendons and labrum tears at the hip joint.
  • Physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles around your hips and improve hip flexibility.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers to relieve mild hip pain or soreness.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to treat mild injuries to the bursa, tendons, or muscles.
  • RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) to relieve pain and minimise swelling and inflammation of the hips.
  • Hip replacement (in severe cases) to replace the hip joint with a prosthesis.

Hip pain is a common complaint. It becomes more prevalent as you age but it is not just a problem for the elderly. Hip pain can be a sign of many issues and often needs to be diagnosed by medical experts. If you’ve been experiencing hip pain for over two weeks or that has worsened over time, it is best to see your physician immediately.

How can Hip Physiotherapy Help?

Hip pain can be a debilitating condition that affects many people’s quality of life. However, hip physiotherapy, which is an exercise-based treatment tailored to individual needs, can assist in reducing hip pain symptoms.

At physiotherapy clinics in Singapore, physiotherapists treat hip pain by combining comprehensive assessment, expertise, manual therapy techniques and exercise strategies to restore hip function and alleviate hip pain. This can help to improve flexibility and relieve joint strain, minimise muscle imbalance and poor movement patterns that cause hip pain. That being said, hip physiotherapy treatment programs are geared to meet the specific needs of each patient, and typically involve targeted exercises aimed at addressing the hip muscles, ligaments, and tendons affected by the patient’s discomfort.

Why Choose Benchmark Physio for Hip Pain Physiotherapy Treatment in Singapore?

Hip pain is an unpleasant reality for many people across Singapore. At Benchmark Physio, we understand that living through this discomfort can be challenging and severely inhibit your daily activities. For relief of hip pain symptoms, we offer a comprehensive physiotherapy treatment program designed to help you regain full mobility and improve the overall health of your hips.

 

Passionate about helping people feel great again, our hardworking team of physiotherapists strives to provide efficient treatments that give patients long-term relief from hip pain symptoms Contact us today to enjoy life without limits again or view our full range of services. Our dedicated team offers comprehensive and personalised treatments and also now offers the convenience of home physiotherapy, helping you regain mobility and enjoy life to the fullest. 

Meet Our Physiotherapist

Ng Hong Kai, an experienced physiotherapist, has carefully reviewed the information on this page.

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Clinic Director and Chief Physiotherapist​​

  • Master of Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal), Curtin University (Australia)
  • Master of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise & Sports Science), University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Member of Australian College of Physiotherapists and Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Full registration with Allied Health Professions Council, Singapore, and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • GEMt Advanced Dry Needling Practitioner 

Hong Kai has been practising musculoskeletal physiotherapy for more than a decade. He is the first Singaporean to achieve dual credentials as both an APA Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and a tertiary trained Exercise Scientist.

Hong Kai's broad and extensive skillset allows him to create solutions that are simple, effective and tailored to a client’s musculoskeletal needs. His beliefs in continuing education and self improvement led him to complete his Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal), where he had a chance to participate in formal research into knee osteoarthritis under the supervision of world renowned researcher and physiotherapist Prof Peter 0′ Sullivan. 

Hong Kai has experience treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, with a specific focus on addressing lower back, neck, shoulder and knee pain.

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