Hip and shoulder pain become increasingly common as we age. However, it’s possible for anyone to develop them, and when that happens the ability to perform routine tasks and quality of life can be adversely affected.
Hip and Shoulder Pain Treatment: Basic Information
Your hips and shoulders are joints. This means they depend on a cushioning of slippery cartilage, lubrication by synovial fluid, and proper alignment to work as they should. When one of these elements isn’t present to the degree or in the way it should be, hip and shoulder pain can result.
Causes of Hip and Shoulder Pain
- Osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis affects many of us from middle age onward as the cartilage in the joint deteriorates and bones grind against one another.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissue including the synovium.
- Sciatica. It’s possible to irritate the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the human body, that runs from the lower back through the hips and down the back of the leg. Lack of exercise is a frequent cause.
- Hip fractures. As the body ages, the cells throughout the body break down and the bones can become weak and brittle. Conditions lie osteoporosis end up weakening the bones, and when they are weakened, they are more likely to break during a fall. This is especially true of the large weight-bearing bones like the leg and hip bones.
- Bone fracture. This is a particular problem for senior citizens, whose bones can become brittle.
- Dislocation. It usually takes a lot of force, but it’s possible to knock a bone out of the socket (like the hip joint) where it’s supposed to fit.
- Dysplasia. A bone doesn’t fit in the socket where it belongs snugly enough because the end of it is too small. This makes it possible for it to wobble around or even become dislocated. Babies are particularly prone to dysplasia.
- Bursitis. Bursae is the medical term used for the sacs of liquid that can occur between bone, muscles, and tendons throughout the body. They work like cushions and airbags and protect against impact damage when walking, running, or falling. But when bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain, which is usually associated with repeat injuries to that area.
- Labral tear. This is a rip in the cartilage at the bony edge of the hip that helps hold the joint together. It’s often a sports-related injury and occurs in a twisting fall or accident, but it’s also possible for the cartilage to simply deteriorate over time.
- Tendinitis. The stretchy bands of tissue that connect the bones and muscles together are known as tendons. They are found throughout the body and are the key to joints being able to move freely. Tendinitis is the term used for inflammation or irritation of these tendons. Stretching and tears from overuse or injury are the common causes of tendinitis.
- Muscle or tendon strain. Recurring activities and motions can put a lot of unnatural strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This is especially true in the major joints such as the hips. When overuse or injury causes inflammation, it often leads to hip joint pain and a reduction of normal mobility.
- Hip labral tear. This is the term used to describe a rip in the protective collar of cartilage, known as the labrum, the supports the socket joint where the bones meet in the hip. When the labrum is damaged, it is easier for the hip to slip out of place and cause pain as the bones rub together; dislocations are easier as well.
- Cancers. Tumors caused by some cancers can start in the bone, and they can also spread to the bone through metastasis. These tumors beak down the bone and can cause pain in joints and bones that are affected. In advanced cases, the bones can become brittle and break, joints can be dislocated, and loss of mobility is commonly seen. This causes a wide range of types and severities of pain, often including hip joint pain.
- Avascular necrosis. Commonly known as osteonecrosis, this is a condition that occurs when blood flow is reduced and the bone of the hip begins to die. Bone death can lead to breakage and collapse of the bone structure and produce hip joint pain, immobility, and increased risk of infection.
- Strain. A strain occurs when you overstretch or tear muscles or tendons that help a joint move. (It becomes a sprain if it happens to a ligament.)
Symptoms of Hip Joint Pain
Depending on the condition that’s causing your hip joint pain, you might feel the discomfort in your:
- Thigh area
- Inside the joint
- Groin area
- Outside the joint
- Buttocks area
Sometimes pain that begins in another area of the body can radiate to the hip, which is why any severe or persistent hip joint pain needs to be looked into: it may be a sign of another serious underlying condition. Call your health care provider if your pain doesn’t go away, or if there are any signs of infection. Get medical help right away if:
- The pain came on suddenly without any advanced warning
- Pain is worse when lying down or persists even with rest
- A fall or other injury is what leads to the hip joint pain
- Your joint is visually bruised, misshapen, or bleeding
- There was an audible popping noise when you hurt yourself
- You hear or feel a clicking or catching sensation when you move the hip
- The pain is intense and is making it so you cannot sleep at night
- You are unable to put any weight at all on the hip
- You are unable to move your leg or hip at all
Manifestations of Hip and Shoulder Pain and Problems
- Pain. Whatever the problem, you’re likely to feel discomfort.
- Stiffness. This is often the case with osteoarthritis.
- Swelling. This can result from a strain.Save
- Reddened skin. Swelling, heat, and reddened skin can all be signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
- A feeling like an electric shock. Tingling, numbness, and a feeling like an electric shock can all be signs of sciatica.
- One leg looks shorter than the other. This is sometimes seen with hip fractures.
- Immobility. In the case of a serious condition or injury like a bone fracture, you may not be able to move the affected limb at all.
- A wobbly or loose feeling. If a limb’s connection to a joint feels loose, this can be a sign of dysplasia.
- Pain that dulls and spreads over time. This can be a sign of bursitis.
- A clicking sensation. This may indicate a labral tear.
- Weakness. You might experience this after a strain.