Have you ever experienced hip pain but tried to shrug it off as nothing? And have you thought to yourself that it will go away after you get some rest? Well, if you have had such experiences with hip pain, then you have surely asked yourself, ‘how do I know if my hip pain is serious’?
Believe it or it, it is a very common experience for most adults, and most people will tell you the importance of consulting a doctor at the right time cannot be overstated.
Here, we will discuss the symptoms associated with hip pain and how to know if your hip pain indicates a serious physiological issue.
How Your Hips Work
For understanding the severity and the symptoms of serious hip issues, you need first to understand how your hips work and what causes them to malfunction.
The hip joint can be thought of as a kind of a ‘ball and socket’ joint mechanism. Here, the hip bone connects the upper body with the femurs. The femoral head, a ball-shaped part, is connected to a fitting socket called the acetabulum in the hip bone through ligaments and cushioned by cartilage.
While the hip bone and the round-shaped joint with the femur allow for quite a large range of fluid motions, that is not the main purpose of this mechanism. Rather the hip bone specializes in load-bearing capabilities.
Whenever you perform a quick motion with your legs and hips, the cartilage provides impact suppression to protect the joint. While this is a durable mechanism, over time and use, it can become pretty weary.
Over-usage of the hip functions, such as – extremely stressful movement, heavy impacts to the hip area, excessive load carrying over time – can grind on the bones and the cartilage, causing severe damage and pain.
What Causes Hip Pains
The causes of hip pains can be wide and numerous. From accidental impacts to bone degeneration, all can cause hip pains – some being much more serious than others. Here, we will list some of the most serious causes of hip pain that can cause physical debilitation if not addressed.
- Muscle Strain: This is the most common cause of hip pain among men engaged in heavy fieldwork. Repetitive actions that require significant load-bearing and contortions can damage muscles, causing inflammation.
- Tendinitis: Tendinitis is another condition that can result from putting a repetitive strain on the hip area. Tendons are the main group of tissues connecting the bone to the muscles.
- Fractured Hip: Fractured hip is more strongly associated with old age. As the bones become weaker and more prone to breakage over long years, a fall or an accident causing impact to your hip can cause your hip bones to fracture.
- Sciatica: While sciatica refers to pain in the lower back, it can easily spread to your hips, buttocks, and thighs. Sciatica is a precursor to spinal disk displacement.
- Bursitis: There are liquid substances in your bone joints and also in between tendon, bone, and muscle connections that facilitate smooth movement by providing lubrication. These liquid carrying pouches are called bursae. Inflammation of the bursae can cause severe pain.
- Dislocated Hip: A very common condition, especially among highly physical sport athletes. It can occur from excessive exercising or heavy impact.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is one of the worst conditions people face in old age. It is the breaking down of the cartilage around the hip joints that causes extreme pain and stiffness. Arthritis can occur as ‘Osteoarthritis’ or ‘Rheumatoid Arthritis’.
- Bone Nerve Death: After an accident or severe damage to the bones, the blood supplying capillary to the bones can die, causing bones to degenerate. This condition is medically termed as ‘Avascular Necrosis’.
If you are a person who has any of these conditions and suffers from a bad hip, you can look to alleviate some of the discomforts by using specialized mattresses. Here is a list of the best mattresses for bad hips.
Symptoms of Serious Hip Pain
Now that you know about the serious causes, let’s discuss the symptoms by which you can identify whether your hip pain is serious or not.
1. After Heavy Duty Activities
Hips can get sore after engaging in prolonged heavy-duty activities like long hours of exercise, loading and unloading heavy objects, etc. However, if you can perform most of your daily activities with some rest and minor care, you probably don’t have anything too serious despite the pain and discomfort.
If there are persistent pain and stiffness in your hips even after taking some heat therapy and adequate rest, you should go to a physician or a healthcare provider.
2. Sudden Onset Pain
If the pain developed suddenly, and without impact to the area, it should be checked immediately.
3. Fall or Impact Triggering Pain
If a strong impact due to an accident or falling causes sharp pain, almost like a burning sensation on the bones, you should visit a doctor as soon as you can. This likely signals a bone fracture.
4. Pain While Resting
Resting is the time your body recovers from pain. So, if pain arises when you are in a resting position without any prior incident that may have caused it, you should get it checked.
5. Swelling, Tingling, Redness around the Hip
These types of symptoms are strongly associated with sciatica. If treated early, you will have a much easier time recovering from it.
6. Complete Stiffness in Hip and Leg
If your hip and legs feel so stiff that you can’t even move them at all, that’s a serious symptom of a hip condition, especially dislocation and arthritis.
7. Intense Sporadic Pain
Intense hip pain that comes and goes is a sign of muscular degradation. It can be a symptom of tendonitis or a remote cursor of a bone tumor.
8. Physical Distortion
Physical distortion of the hips and legs after impact indicates you dislocated a femur.
Now that we have answered the question, “How do I know if my hip pain is serious?”, you can make the best judgment at the moment if you feel any of the symptoms we mentioned.
You should always take good care of your hips if you don’t want to be stagnated by hip issues when you get older. Plus, get yourself the best mattress for bad hips.