The Hip Joint
The hip joint is a ‘ball and socket joint’, similar to the shoulder. Unlike the shoulder however, the hip joint is a weight-bearing joint and is therefore much more stable, making injuries to the joint itself less common than they are in the shoulder.
Large muscle groups attaching in and around the hip:
Hip flexors and quadriceps(front of thigh)
Hamstrings (back of thigh) and gluteals (buttocks).
Around the outside of your the knee is the iliotibial band (ITB) which attaches up into the lateral aspect of your pelvis via the TFL (tensor fascia lata) muscle.
On the outside of the pelvis behind the TFL muscle are the smaller gluteal muscles; gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These two muscles play a crucial role in functional pelvic stability whether you are running, jumping or carrying a weight.
Adductor (groin) muscles on the inside running down to the knee
Lateral hip pain (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome)
This conditions is also sometimes referred to as hip bursitis. It describes pain on the side of the hip, however recent research has found that inflammation of the bursa (“bursitis”) is actually rare. The pain is normally attributable to tearing of the gluteus medius tendon (one of the buttock muscles) that attaches onto the side of the hip. Activities such as lying on your side, walking up steep stairs, standing with weight-shifted onto one leg and crossing the legs, compresses the tendon against the bone. Over time the tendon can wear out and develop small micro tears.
Treatment involves strengthening of the gluteus medius muscle in positions that will decompress the tendon. Patients can normally recover within 1-3months.
Hip Joint Pain
Pain in the hip joint/groin can be caused by impingement, labral tears or degeneration of the joint surfaces. Impingement can develop at a young age and is caused by extra bone growing on either the head of the femur (thigh bone) or on the acetabulum (the socket in the pelvis where the head of the femur sits). The labrum is a thin piece of connective tissue that sits in the hip socket to make it deeper and provide cushioning for the femur. The labrum is susceptible to tearing and may cause clicking in the hip if it becomes symptomatic. Scan including x-rays and MRI’s help to gain an accurate diagnosis and direct appropriate treatment which may include strengthening of the stabilising muscles of the hip or surgical intervention.
For more on the hip, or If you are seeking help and want relief from your hip pain