Hip & Pelvis

Health Tips

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

Hip Problems at a Younger Age


Many people think hip issues only afflict the older population, but they can affect younger people, too. A condition called hip dysplasia may actually be diagnosed anytime from birth into adulthood.

Although not all the causes of hip dysplasia are known, it can often occur when a baby is born with hips that are not seated all the way in the sockets. Being the first born child or being born in breech position allows less room for the legs and stretches the hips. Just being born a girl releases female hormones that contribute to looser ligaments, which in turn may not hold the hips in place firmly enough. A family history of hip dysplasia may also be a risk factor. The vast majority of hip dysplasia patients are women, as much as 80%.

Hip dysplasia can cause arthritis at a younger age or problems during sports and activities, even in childhood. While clicking and popping sounds in the hip may indicate hip dysplasia, most people see a doctor when their hips become painful. With better medical imaging, more treatment options, and longer-lasting hip replacement implants available now, more patients who are younger are seeking medical care for their hip problems.

It's okay to see a doctor before your hips become painful. While some hip noises are due to tight ligaments and may not cause additional problems, some can be warning signs of serious issues to come, if ignored.

It's recommended that you see an orthopedic doctor specializing in the treatment of hip problems for the right diagnosis and treatment. Hip dysplasia is diagnosed with x-rays, but they have to be taken at special angles to properly see the scope of the problem. A specialist is much more likely to take these images the first time around, detecting the problem earlier. 

Because hip dysplasia causes a variety of problems, there are a variety of treatments ranging from conservative intervention, such as rest and over-the-counter medications, to surgery. You and your orthopedic doctor will need to decide which treatments are best for your health and lifestyle.

FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Your favorite superhero stretches their hips every day.


Okay, we can't prove it, but we're pretty sure they'd be in our office more often if they didn't. (Side Note: We know you're picturing some stratospheric stretching right now. It's okay. No one's judging.) If superheroes weren't so fictional, they'd be concerned about things like hip fractures, strained, tight and inflamed hip tendons, hip bursitis, hip bruising (“pointers”), torn labrum cartilage, and eventually, even osteoarthritis. Plus they'd feel the pain that goes with all of it, not to mention their world-saving capabilities would diminish substantially. 

Athletes, however, are much more commonly affected by these hip ailments. A fall or severe impact is more likely to cause a fracture, tear, or bruise. Repetitive motion is often the culprit when inflammation or worn cartilage is causing pain or discomfort. As an athlete, we know you want to get back to your sport and exercise regimen. It's the endorphins...the camaraderie...the fancy gear...we get it, and we want to help you. 

If nothing hurts right now, great. Keep warming up and down, stretching, and strengthening your core. Watch your form, or you might pay down the line. Improper biomechanics can put you on the injured list faster than you think. Tight muscles contribute to bad form, too, so again, stretch like a superhero. 

If you've been out of your routine, resist the temptation to jump back in where you left off. It's a common cause of all the injuries superheroes won't get but you can. Start again at a reasonably lower level and work your way back up. 

If you do hurt, come see us. Have a board certified orthopedic doctor who sees injured athletes all the time give you a few treatment solutions so you can get back on track quickly. You can get the right diagnosis instead guessing, and your sports medicine doctor can work with one of our on-site physical therapists, if you need it, to retrain, stretch, and strengthen you in exactly the ways you need.

JULY 15, 2016

“My hip makes a snapping sound when I move it, and I can feel it pop. Is this a serious problem?”


The large muscles and tendons in the hip sometimes become so tight that they pop and make snapping sounds when they move over the bony surfaces of the hip joint. As long as it doesn't hurt, it's not considered a serious problem and probably doesn't need medical attention. It can, however cause painful swelling of the hip bursae, which are the little fluid-filled sacs that add cushion in the hip. Their job is to be the pain-free buffer zone between bones and the muscles and tendons that rub over them. When they're unable to do this, they become painful and swollen, causing a condition called bursitis. 

Snapping hip can be felt in the back or front of the joint. There is a large tendon in the front of the hip that moves back and forth over the top of the thighbone from front to side. There is a smaller tendon in front of the hip that can catch on the bony structures as well. The hamstring muscle can catch on the "sit" bones in the back of the hip. Snapping in any of these three places would be felt and/or heard. 

A more serious cause of snapping hip may be damaged cartilage. Torn cartilage catching on the inner structures of the hip joint can become extremely painful to the point of no longer being able to walk. Pain that interferes with daily living should be addressed by a doctor. Earlier treatment may put off surgery or help avoid it altogether, although every patient is different. 

Athletes of any age who participate in repetitive hip-bending activities may be prone to snapping hip, but adolescent athletes are especially prone because muscles can be tight during growth years. Dancers are also particularly prone to the condition. An orthopedic doctor specializing in the hip area or sports medicine has a lot of experience helping patients with this condition. To properly diagnose it, he or she will want to know what activities bring the pain on, will take a health history, and will probably x-ray the area to rule out bone problems. 

Physical therapy, special stretches, anti-inflammatory medication, injections, activity modification, rest, and ice are all common nonsurgical treatments to alleviate pain associated with snapping hip issues. Surgery may be necessary if these treatments fail or if cartilage needs to be repaired.