Causes: In the younger population, trauma is the leading cause of hip fractures. However, hip fractures are more common in older adults due to a decrease in bone density that occurs with aging. As one ages, calcium levels decrease, which can cause bones to become weak and brittle.
Similarly, females who have gone through menopause have a reduced level of estrogen, which can contribute to thinning and weakening of the bone. A prolonged lack of calcium and estrogen can cause a condition known as osteoporosis.
Women with this condition have a higher risk of fracturing the hip. Furthermore, high-impact activities such as long-distance running can increase the chances of hip fractures.
Symptoms: When one fractures the hip bone, intense pain can occur around the hip or groin area. In addition, visible signs of deformity may be present such as the leg on the affected side turning outwards and the creation of uneven leg lengths, depending on the severity of the fracture. Usually, patients cannot stand, bear weight, lift, or turn the injured leg. Furthermore, the injury will also cause swelling at the hip.
Treatment: Surgery is the primary treatment modality for hip fractures. After the injury, surgery needs to occur within 1-2 days to decrease complication risk.
Top tips for relief: Various lifestyle modifications can help prevent a hip fracture. Eating healthy, having sufficient Vitamin D and calcium, and exercising can help to strengthen the bone.
Cessation of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is advised, as these can further contribute to bone breakdown. Smoking decreases blood flow to the bone, and excessive consumption of alcohol can create high cortisol levels, which prevents the new formation of bone.
While the above are the leading causes of hip pain, many other causes remain. For example, stretched tissues present in injuries to the back can cause hip pain. The sciatic nerve courses through your lower back and passes posteriorly to the hip joint. Compression of the sciatic nerve along its path can cause hip pain.
Sciatica has characteristics of shooting pain, burning, or tingling sensations down one’s leg. Femoral hernias near the hip bone can cause hip pain as well. These can be prevented by eating healthy and using proper form with heavy lifting.
Another condition known to cause chronic hip pain is endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when an abnormal growth of endometrial tissue (layer lining the uterus) surrounds nerves that travel through the hip and pelvis.
If the ectopic tissue compresses the pelvic nerves, pain signals will be sent to the hips, buttocks, or legs. Reducing alcohol, caffeine, and body weight can help decrease the risk of endometriosis.