The hip is a very stable ball-joint that connects the pelvis to the leg. Most of the time pain on the outside of the hip to the knee comes from the iliotibial band or trochanteric area. Pain at the back of the joint can be from the hamstring or adductor tendons or muscles such as the piriformis. The hip can also be affected by osteoarthritis or joint defects that can cause pain. Groin injuries can be common. Some hip pain can be referred from the low back (without back pain present) and the sacro-illiac joint and so Physiotherapy assessment is advised to establish the specific problem.
What can I do to help?
Simple painkillers (paracetamol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, (ibuprofen) are available over the counter and can be very effective for musculoskeletal pain. If you are currently taking any form of medication it is advisable to consult your GP or pharmacist before taking pain relief.
Ice or Heat
Applying an ice pack to the outside of the hip may be helpful for reducing pain and swelling. A packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works well as an ice pack. Leave the peas in place for no more than 20 minutes at a time. This can be repeated several times throughout the day as long as your skin is not irritated. Some patients prefer heat to relief their pain.
Reducing the strain on your hip
It is usually best to carry out your normal activities, but try not to overdo it. You need to pace yourself to start with and try to do a bit more each day.
Rest or Exercise
It is usually best to try to carry out your normal activities in small amounts, take things slowly, pace your activities and avoid movements that make your pain significantly worse.
Physiotherapy treatment may consist of manual therapy, mobilisations of soft tissue and will always include exercises to improve the muscle strength and length. It may be that an X-Ray is required but not always.