Hip pain in younger adults
Most of us are aware that hip pain in later life can be due to arthritis or “wear and tear”. However, the hip joint can be a source of pain for children, adolescents and younger adults without arthritis. This is an area of medical science which has seen some significant changes recently, both in diagnosis and treatment.
The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint, and it is found below the muscles in the groin area, rather than the “hip bone” that you can feel which is part of the pelvis. There are lots of different conditions that can affect the hip joint apart from arthritis. Below are some of the common symptoms that patients present with who have hip problems:
Pain in the groin, thigh, buttock or outer-side of the hip
Pain that only comes on with particular activities and positions e.g. squatting, bending, twisting
Pain that only occurs the day after activity “ payback pain”
Clicking or snapping of the hip joint
Catching, locking, giving way
Persistent “groin strains”
The hip feels “tired” after prolonged activity
Some of these symptoms can be caused by abnormalities in the shape of the hip joint that can lead onto early wear and tear changes. For example, some people have “shallow hips” (hip dysplasia) that results from failure of the hip socket to deepen during growth. Others have bumps of bone around the hip that cause impingement (Femoracetabular impingement or FAI).
To make a diagnosis of these conditions requires an assessment and examination with a specialist, often followed by scan and X rays. Surgical treatment can be required. New developments in this area include keyhole surgery of the hip (hip arthroscopy) and procedures to change the shape of the hip joint (Osteotomies). The aim of such procedures is to improve pain and function without replacing the patient’s own hip joint.
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The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.