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6 Signs and Symptoms of Hip Joint Issues You Shouldn't Ignore

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medically reviewed by Dr Valsala

Dr J S S Dev

Updated on February 26, 2024

If you ever feel any kind of discomfort in your hip joints you should not ignore it. You cannot get out of your bed without the help of your hip joint. The hip joint is a large ball and socket joint connecting your upper leg bone (femur) to the pelvis. It is a crucial joint in your body. It enables a wide range of motions like walking, running, jumping, etc.

Addressing hip joint issues at the earliest is essential in preventing further complications. Thankfully, modern medical science has evolved enough to prevent, treat and manage these problems effectively.

This blog will provide you with deep insights into hip joint problems, including their signs and symptoms. You will learn two specific types of arthritis that affect the hips: hip arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, you will explore various treatment options for hip joint issues.

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Identifying Hip Joint Issues: Common Signs and Symptoms

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Your hip joints are one of the unsung heroes of your body. It enables you to walk, run, and dance without a second thought. Like any hardworking part, it can experience wear and tear over time, leading to pain, reduced movements, and stiffness.

How do you know if your hip joints are crying out for help? Here are some common signs and symptoms you should watch out for

Pain

  • Location: You may feel pain in the hip itself, the groin area, the thigh or even the buttocks.
     
  • Intensity: You may feel mild to sharp pain. It may worsen with specific movements like walking, running, lifting heavy objects, etc.
     
  • Duration: Sometimes you feel pain for a short time or maybe persistent for a week or even a month.

Changes in Gait

  • Hip joint problems can significantly impact your gait and the way you walk. These changes can be subtle or quite noticeable, depending on the severity of the underlying issue. 
     
  • Limping, waddling gait, pelvic tilt, and crouching gait are some major gait abnormalities

Reduced Range of Motion

  • You will have difficulty bending, lifting, and rotating your hips as well as sitting on the floor or cross-legged.
     
  • You will find it difficult to do activities that once seemed effortless (getting out of a car, climbing stairs, etc).

Stiffness

  • When you wake up early in the morning or after sitting for a long time, you may feel stiffness in your hip or legs.
     
  • The stiffness you feel gradually goes off when you move around. But it may return after a period of inactivity.

Crepitus

It is the term for clicking, crackling or popping sounds.

  • When you move around, you may observe these sounds from your hip.
     
  • Usually, these sounds are painless.
     
  • Crepitus could be a sign of cartilage wear, tear or even inflammation within your hip joint.

Swelling or Tenderness

  • Observe for any swelling or redness around your hip joint - The swollen area may be tender when you touch it. It also causes discomfort when pressed.
     
  • Causes of swelling may be inflammation, fluid build-up, or any underlying damage to the joint.

According to your hip joint issues, these are the major symptoms you may experience. These symptoms can vary based on the hip joint issues you may be having. One such major hip joint problem is Hip Arthritis. Scroll down to find out more.

Hip Arthritis: Groin Pain and Your Daily Life

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Imagine when you wake up one morning. You start feeling a sharp, nagging pain in your groin. As the day goes on, the pain starts to worsen with every step you take. Even simple tasks like walking, climbing stairs, getting dressed, etc, become challenging.

The persistent discomfort you feel could be a sign of hip arthritis. Hip arthritis occurs when the cartilage, the smooth cushion between your bones, wears down. This makes your bones rub against each other, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

How Hip Arthritis Affects Your Groin

The groin area is where your actual hip joint is. If you feel the area by pressing with your fingers, you will be touching the exact location where your upper thigh bone (femur) connects to your hip joint. So, the groin is where you feel the hip arthritis pain. The pain can be dull, sharp or aching. It may get worse with your repeated movements.

You might also notice stiffness in your hip, making it difficult to move your leg freely. Sometimes, the pain may radiate to your outer thigh or buttocks.

Recognising Rheumatoid Arthritis in Your Hips

Another type of arthritis, which is more unpredictable and difficult to deal with than the common hip arthritis, is rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease. It can affect your hips, causing inflammation and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, unlike hip arthritis, which typically affects older adults.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in your hips often include:

  • Aching, throbbing pain in your groin, thighs, or buttocks,
  • Morning stiffness that lasts for hours,
  • Swelling and redness around your hip joint,
  • Limited range of motion in your hip, and
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite.

These are the major symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Now let us look at the indicative signs of hip degeneration and related issues.

Indications of Hip Degeneration and Related Issues

If you are experiencing a nagging pain in your hip joint that does not go away whatever you do, then be careful. You may be dealing with hip degeneration. It should be addressed as early as possible, as once degeneration occurs, it's difficult to go back.

You need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of degenerative hip diseases. Early diagnosis helps you in timely treatment and better recovery.

Degenerative Hip Disease Symptoms: Early Warning Signs

Degenerative hip diseases, such as Hip Dysplasia and Avascular necrosis, can cause dislocation or may cause the depletion of your hip joint tissues. Hip dysplasia is a condition where your hip socket is too shallow to cover the ball-shaped head of the femur (thighbone). This can cause the hip joint to be unstable or to dislocate completely. While Avascular necrosis is a condition of disruption of blood supply to a bone. This can cause the bone tissue to collapse and die.

These diseases can cause symptoms that demand attention. These symptoms may include:

  • Your hip or groin pain may be aching, sharp, or stabbing. It may worsen at night or when you first get up in the morning.
     
  • Stiffness in Your Hip: This may make it difficult for you to bend, flex, or rotate your hip. You may also have trouble walking, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of bed.
     
  • Limping: It can be a sign of pain or instability in your hip.
     
  • Snapping or popping sounds in your hip can be a sign of cartilage damage or other hip problems.

Taking Action at the Right Time

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Hip joint issues can create a lot of difficulties in your daily life. They can disrupt your easy movements, cause discomfort and even affect your regular sleep due to pain.

Depending on the severity of your condition, there is a wide range of treatment methods for you. It can be a simple painkiller or a major surgery. 

Some of the treatment methods include:

Pain Management: Most of you would have taken painkillers in your life. They are like cheat codes to restore your well-being. Hip joint issues are no exception to the usage of painkillers. But remember, treating the cause rather than the symptom is always better.

Physiotherapy: Under the proper guidance of a professional physiotherapist, you could engage in specific exercise routines. It can strengthen your hip joint and improve flexibility.

Surgery (Hip Replacement):  In severe cases, hip replacement surgery can be considered when other treatments don't provide sufficient relief. This involves replacing your damaged hip joint with an artificial one.

What Does Ayurveda Offer?

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Ayurveda considers pain as a message from your body. Ayurveda welcomes pain as it is regarded as a chance to improve your health.

Abhyanga (oil application) is a critical treatment protocol in Ayurveda for pain. Regular oil massage can increase blood circulation in the body parts. It promotes flexibility and reduces joint stiffness.

  • Nirgundi oil can be used for massage in the hip joint region. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help reduce joint pain.

You can consume Ayurvedic formulations, such as Maharasnadi Kwath (decoction) or Yogaraj Guggulu (tablet form), for joint health issues.

  • Maharasnadi kwath has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. It is often recommended for managing joint pain, stiffness, and inflammatory conditions. 
  • Yogaraja guggulu is known for its anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating properties. It is often recommended for conditions related to joints and muscles. Yogaraja Guggulu supports the proper function of the musculoskeletal system.

Some of the other therapeutic panchakarma treatment methods include:

Tailadhara: Continuous pouring of warm herbal oil over a specific body area.

Nhavarakkizhi: Applying the affected part with a bolus of rice cooked in medicinal milk.

Ksheera Vasthi: The process of administration of medicated milk enema.

All these treatments help your hip joint by improving blood circulation and healing, improving muscle mass and strength to support the degenerated joint, and preventing further degeneration, thus improving flexibility and movement.

To Conclude

Once you are aware of the hip joint issues with its symptoms and various treatment options, it is time for you to act. Your body's needs should always be a top priority. 

Pay close attention to any signs or symptoms you experience, and seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Early detection and timely treatment can play a critical role in your recovery.

When considering treatment options, it's essential to consult with your healthcare professional, who can aid you with recommendations based on your specific condition and needs. 

Remember to care for your body, listen to its needs, and prioritize your health and well-being.

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