Managing Hip Pain: A Holistic Approach

Managing Hip Pain: A Holistic Approach

Today we’re focusing managing hip pain. The hip, a marvelously unique joint, stands out in the intricacies of the human body. From the depth of its socket to the strength of the surrounding muscles and ligaments, the hip plays a pivotal role in weight-bearing activities. 

Let’s discuss this synovial ball-and-socket joint and understand how its health is intertwined with the well-being of the entire lower kinetic chain. Plus how chiropractic care might just be your solution.

The Hip Joint Unveiled

At the heart of the hip’s uniqueness lies its synovial nature, granting it the freedom of movement. This ball-and-socket joint comprises the femoral head (the “ball”) and the acetabulum (the “socket”). While the ball is primarily contained within the cup, individual differences, influenced by genetics and culture, contribute to the depth and shape of the hip joint.

The Intimate Relationship of Joints

The connection between the hip and its neighboring joints is intimate, as each joint’s condition can impact the others. For instance, ankle pronation, the inward rolling of the foot and ankle, can lead to a knocked knee, subsequently shifting the hip outward. This cascade effect continues, involving the pelvis, tailbone or sacrum, and lower spine, all working in tandem to maintain eye level. When hip pain arises, a comprehensive examination and treatment of the entire lower kinetic chain – encompassing the foot, ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, and spine – is essential.

A Holistic Approach To Managing Hip Pain

Managing hip pain involves addressing interconnected issues. Here are some common considerations:

1. Ankle Pronation: Correcting inward rolling with a rear foot post in a foot orthotic helps realign the Achilles tendon to the ground, bringing balance to the ankle.

2. Knocked-Knees (Genu Valgus): Ankle pronation can lead to knocked knees, causing stress on the outer knee joint. Proper correction with a heel wedge on the inside of a foot orthotic helps alleviate knee cap pain, or shoes that properly support the foot and arch.

3. Hip Inward Angulation (Coxa Vera): As the knee shifts inward, the femur head moves outward, destabilizing the joint. Addressing leg length deficiency with a heel lift (if needed), once ankle pronation is corrected, stabilizes the lower kinetic chain.

4. Muscle Imbalance and Strengthening: Beyond structural issues, chiropractors delve into muscle imbalances, strengthening weak hip extensors, and stretching tight hip flexors and adductor muscles for comprehensive hip health.

While we’ve scratched the surface of the intricate web of hip health, there’s much more to explore. 

The good news is that chiropractic care can assist you in navigating these complexities. Whether it’s correcting joint imbalances or addressing muscle issues, chiropractic care offers a holistic approach to hip wellness.

Decoding These Common Hip Injuries

Decoding These Common Hip Injuries

Hip pain isn’t just a game-spoiler on the sports field. It can crash your daily activities too! Whether you’re chasing a victory or chasing after your dog, hip pain is no fun. Let’s explore some of the most common hip injuries that can turn your moves into groans.

Muscles Strains

This is probably the most common injury to the hip and groin. The weight bearing “job” the hips have when running, cutting, jumping, climbing, twisting, etc. Strains occur more often with “eccentric” muscle contractions (when the muscle lengthens) vs. when the muscle shortens. Examples of eccentric muscle contractions include the lowering of a weight during a biceps curl, running DOWN a hill or steps, or lowering a bar to the chest in a bench press.

Bursitis

A bursa serves as a fluid-filled pouch positioned at the junction where muscles connect to bones. Its purpose is to facilitate the smooth movement of muscles and tendons. And reducing friction as they glide against one another during physical actions. Bursae are present in multiple joints throughout the body, with notable concentrations in the hip, shoulder, elbow, and knee joints. Damage to a bursa can occur due to excessive use, sudden injury, or complications arising after surgical procedures.

Contusions

A direct blow to the hip and/or pelvis can bruise the area, which is called a “contusion.” This is a common cause of bursitis and when located on the side of the hip, it is often called a “hip pointer.”

Stress Fracture

These are usually seen in long distance runners and in women more often than men. Individuals with a nutritional deficiency (like those with an eating disorder) and older athletes—especially those with poor bone density—also have an elevated risk for stress fracture.

Labral Tear

The labrum constitutes a sturdy, fibrous circle that encircles the hip socket, contributing depth and stability to the hip joint. In the event of a labral tear, individuals might encounter sensations of discomfort, reduced flexibility, and limitations in their range of motion.

Femoroacetabular Impingement

When bone spurs form on the rim of the hip joint socket (acetabulum), they can cause pinching as the hip is moved to its end-ranges of motion. This can lead to osteoarthritis and is often due to a torn labrum and/or capsule.

Common hip injuries mentioned above are never fun, but they can be treated. If dealing with any of the above, or simply have hip pain, and are not sure what to do next, make sure to consult a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plans.