Why consult?

Hip pain

Information to help you understand your symptoms and who to consult for prevention or treatment.

Hip pain interferes a lot with everyday activities because the hip plays an important role in how we move around. Various healthcare professionals can help you relieve pain, stiffness, or inflammation to get your hip back to normal function.

Douleurs à la hanche

What are the symptoms of a hip problem?

The most common symptom is the presence of pain, at rest or in motion, that can wake you up at night. Hip stiffness can limit your movement and you may move with a limp. If there is inflammation, you might notice swelling, redness, or warmth in the affected area.

A hip injury can be caused by a sudden event like a blow, a fall, or a wrong move. It can also occur over time due to repetitive movements or prolonged postures, for example.

What are the main causes of hip pain?

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hip?

Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis are stiffness that limits movement at the hip and pain in the groin area. You may also notice crackling sounds in the joint. When osteoarthritis is a little more severe, swelling, a rubbing sensation and slight deformity (widening of the joint) are also possible.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage that covers the ends of bones. It's a normal aging process that doesn't always cause symptoms.

Is it good to walk with osteoarthritis in the hip? Yes! Staying active is key to nourishing your joints and preventing stiffness. However, you need to listen to your symptoms. Limit activities that cause pain and keep those that you tolerate well as much as possible. If in doubt, a physiotherapist will tell you which ones to prioritize in your situation to limit discomfort.

How does sciatic nerve pain manifest itself?

Pain caused by sciatic nerve irritation typically manifests as tingling, numbness, or even electric shock sensations in the affected leg, which follow the path of the sciatic nerve. It often accompanies pain in the lower back, but not always. This pain may increase with sitting, prolonged standing, and with movement of the hips. When it is more important, the pain is sometimes felt in the form of burning.

Irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, known as sciatica, can be caused by irritation of a nerve root to the spine (by a bulging or herniated disc, osteoarthritis, degenerative changes , etc). It can also be caused by a structure in the leg that prevents the nerve from moving properly, such as the piriformis (also called pyramidal) muscle located in the buttock. When this muscle compresses the sciatic nerve, we then speak of a piriformis syndrome (or pyramidal syndrome).
The muscles behind the thigh and calves can also cause sciatic nerve irritation.

What are the symptoms of hip bursitis?

The pain caused by hip bursitis is usually located on the side of the thigh, very close to the hip, but can also extend to the buttock or the knee. It occurs when lying on your side, sitting with your legs crossed, walking, on the stairs or during training. When severe, it can disrupt your sleep. You might also observe hip swelling, redness, and a feeling of warmth due to inflammation.

Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa, a small fluid-filled pad located in the hip joint. The bursa reduces friction between tendons, muscles and bones. The hip has several, but trochanteric bursitis (on the outer side of the thigh) is the most common injury.

Bursitis can be caused by a blow or a fall on the joint, prolonged compression, muscle imbalance or repeated and unusual contraction. Certain sports involving repetitive leg movements, such as running, walking, and martial arts, are more likely to cause bursitis.

What is hip tendinitis?

Tendinitis is an inflammation of a tendon, the structure that connects muscle to bone, after a shock or a large and unusual muscle contraction. It is often confused with the more common tendinosis, which is chronic tendon irritation often caused by repetitive movements. At the hip, it is often the gluteal muscles that are involved.

Your body is made up of 3 gluteal muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. It is often the gluteus medius that is involved in tendinopathy (tendinitis or tendinosis) of the hip.

This type of injury can appear spontaneously, during a false movement for example, or develop over time, due to muscle weakness or repetitive movements. It is frequently observed in athletes when training parameters, such as intensity, distance or speed, are increased too quickly.

The most common symptoms are pain and decreased hip movement. The pain is most often in the buttock area, but sometimes extends to the knee or the back of the thigh. It usually increases when you put weight on the affected leg, walking or on the stairs for example, or when you contract your gluteal muscles, as if to spread the leg to the side. You might limp in your travels.

How is hip pain treated?

Expert tip: Relieve pain with heat

Hip pain can quickly become a problem when it limits your movements and activities. To relieve it, try applying heat to your hip. Use a heating pad or microwave-safe bag and wrap it in a damp towel. Place it on the painful area for 15-20 minutes.
Heat is not recommended in the presence of inflammation. Stay alert: if the pain increases with heat, stop using it.

If the pain subsides with the heat, keep using it on your hip several times a day so you can move as much as possible. Movement is the best way to promote healing. Pay attention to your symptoms in order to properly balance your activities. When the pain increases, it’s a sign that you need to take a break.

Which professional should you consult?

Different professionals often work together to maximize results. If in doubt, we recommend that you first consult a physiotherapist so that they can assess your needs and the treatments required for the specific condition of your hip. If necessary, they will recommend the professional(s) to consult in order to optimize your rehabilitation.

Why consult a physiotherapist?

After a thorough assessment of your hip, a physiotherapist will explain which structures are affected and offer you a treatment plan based on your goals. Different options can be considered such as exercises specific to your condition, joint mobilizations, muscle relaxation techniques, etc. Your physiotherapist will also give you advice on how to relieve pain and get back to your activities.

Why consult an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist will assess the impact of your hip condition on your normal abilities such as working, doing household chores and hobbies. Their treatments, which can take the form of strengthening exercises or simulating work tasks, for example, will help you maximize your autonomy at each stage of your recovery.

Why consult an osteopath?

Using various manual techniques, an osteopath will treat mobility restrictions that can affect all the structures of your body (bones, muscles, ligaments, viscera, etc.) related to your hip. Improved mobility enables the body to recover better and decreases pain.

Why consult a massage therapist?

A massage therapist will work primarily to release tension in the superficial and deep tissues that affect your hip to help you reduce pain and move more freely. Their treatments will also help increase blood circulation to promote better recovery.

Why consult an acupuncturist?

Through various techniques and using therapeutic tools such as needles and suction cups, an acupuncturist will act to reduce pain, stress, muscle tension and inflammation that can occur following a hip injury.

Why consult a kinesiologist?

A kinesiologist will teach you how to do adapted exercises, based on their evaluation of your ability to move your hip and your physical condition, so that you can resume your activities.