A hip injury and pain can make it hard to
walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking
or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint (snapping hip) may
bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip is not painful, in many cases
the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment may be all that is
needed for minor hip symptoms.
To better understand hip injuries,
it may be helpful to know how the
hip works. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in
the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket
(acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the
shoulder joint but it does not move as freely. The hip joint is held together
by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint
capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint
and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in
the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
Injuries are a common cause of hip
problems. You may not remember a specific injury, especially if your symptoms
began slowly or during everyday activities.
Treatment for a hip injury depends on the location, type,
and severity of the injury as well as your age, general health, and activities
(such as work, sports, hobbies). Treatment may include first aid measures;
application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy;
medicines; or surgery.
Check your symptoms to
decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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Home treatment may help relieve hip
pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Do not smoke. Smoking may delay healing because it interferes
with blood supply and tissue healing. For more information, see the topic
If you have a cast, see
cast care tips.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may prevent hip
Hip injuries can happen from falls. Do all you can to prevent falls.
If you live alone, you may want to get an emergency contact
bracelet or necklace. If you fall and can't get to the phone, you can press
the button on your bracelet or necklace. This calls
911 or an emergency number for you so that
help can be sent.
Warm up and stretch before exercising to prevent muscle strains and
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
July 30, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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