Treating Hip Pain

Overview

Most sports-related hip problems will typically respond to conservative treatment. Surgery rarely is needed for general hip injuries. Labral tears may require arthroscopy (see below) and hip or femur fractures likely need surgical repair.
  • Hip fracture: Most hip fractures will require surgery to stabilize the joint. The extent of surgery depends on the exact fracture.
  • Muscle strains, tendonitis, bursitis, iliotibial band syndrome: Can be managed through non-surgical methods listed below.
  • Hip “pointer”: Will usually require activity modification and padding until the bruise, or hematoma, resolves.
  • Labral tear: Arthroscopic surgery involves the surgeon making a minimal incision and manipulating instruments through a thin tube that reaches the surgical field through the incision. The surgeon sees the site via a miniature camera and light inserted in the tube, as well. Scopes placed into the hip joint will, ideally, identify the labral tear. The surgeon will repair or resect (remove) the torn area.
  • Osteoarthritis: Treatment will depend on the extent of arthritis in the joint and its impact on function.
Non-operative treatment will be attempted before considering hip-replacement surgery. Non-operative treatments:
  • Modifying activity: Athletes who must perform repetitive movements will need to avoid painful activities and modify their training during rehabilitation
  • Icing: Applying ice after exercise may diminish the pain and other symptoms
  • Medication: Physicians frequently prescribe ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce inflammation and pain. Physicians also may prescribe injections of steroids or anesthetic to both diagnose the source and treat the pain
  • Rehabilitation: Physical therapy often is needed to reduce pain and improve function. Therapy will include heat and/or ice to decrease inflammation and stretching/strengthening exercises for specific hip muscles. The therapy will progress to more functional activities, simulating sport-specific motions. As the symptoms improve, a specific training program will allow proper, incremental return to full activity.