Common hip injuries include strains, contusions, and tears. Each injury has its own unique set of causes and treatment options.

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Hip injuries are relatively common. They can hinder everyday activities, impact quality of life, and reduce training time for athletes.

In this article, we will discuss 14 common hip injuries, their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

A muscle strain is a common injury due to a complete or partial muscle tear. Muscle strain regularly occurs among people who participate in sports such as football, wrestling, boxing, soccer, running, long jumping, and hurdling.

A few common symptoms of a muscle strain are:

Diagnosis of muscle strain can take place through physical examination and X-ray. Sometimes doctors also recommend an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for muscle strain typically involves mild painkillers and the RICE approach:

  • Rest: Take a break from exercises that caused the strain.
  • Ice: Use ice packs to alleviate any swelling.
  • Compression: Wrap the injured area with an ACE wrap or soft bandage.
  • Elevation: Elevate the leg above heart level.

Mild strains might require 10 days to 3 weeks to recover, while severe ones can require up to 6 months.

Learn more about muscle strains.

Also known as bruises, contusions are the second leading cause of sports injuries. While most are mild and heal on their own, severe contusions can cause deep tissue damage.

A few symptoms of a contusion are:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • bluish discoloration of the affected area
  • stiffening of the injured muscle
  • formation of a lump over the injured area

Diagnosis occurs through physical examination and diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, X-ray, CT scans, or MRI.

Treatment involves the RICE approach and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain. If a person has a large hematoma that persists for several days, they may need surgery.

Learn more about contusions.

A labral tear occurs due to injury to the labrum, which is the cartilage surrounding the hip joint. These tears result in loss of stability of the hip joint or burdening of the surrounding tendons, muscles, and ligaments.

This kind of injury is common in athletes who play soccer, hockey, football, and tennis.

Common symptoms include:

Causes include:

  • repetitive trauma
  • bone irregularities
  • hip dysplasia, when the two bones that connect in the hip joint are out of alignment
  • hypermobility

Diagnosis of labral tears can take place through physical examination as well as imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Treatment approaches include:

Doctors may recommend surgeries such as labral reconstruction, repair, and debridement for severe labral tears. Debridement involves removing dead tissue.

Learn more about labral tears.

Loose bodies are bone or cartilage fragments that flow within the synovial fluid of the hip joint. Causes can include:

Symptoms include:

  • pain
  • swelling of the joint
  • grinding sensations

Diagnosis of loose bodies can take place through X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. The most common treatment approach for loose bodies is hip arthroscopy. This results in the surgical removal of the fragments.

Hip instability is where hip pain occurs with or without the symptoms of unsteadiness of the hip joint. It most commonly occurs in athletes who participate in football, tennis, gymnastics, baseball, golf, skating, and martial arts.

Hip instability can occur due to the following:

  • bone irregularities
  • excessive hip movements
  • connective tissue disorders
  • post-traumatic disorders
  • the presence of other medical conditions

The most common symptom of hip instability is pain with gradual worsening discomfort. A healthcare professional can diagnose the condition with a physical exam, various in-office tests, and imaging tests.

Treatment approaches for hip instability include:

  • modification of activities
  • intake of oral anti-inflammatories
  • physical therapy
  • keyhole surgery

Arthritis is a condition that leads to chronic or acute joint pain and inflammation. Although there are several different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type.

A few causes of arthritis include:

Symptoms of arthritis include:

  • swelling in the joints
  • joint pain
  • stiffness
  • joint weakness
  • atypically shaped joints

Diagnosis of arthritis takes place through:

Treatment approaches include:

Doctors recommend surgery if the nonsurgical treatment options are not useful.

Learn more about hip arthritis.

Bursitis is the inflammation or swelling of the bursa, which are small, synovial-lined sac-like structures around the knee, hip, heel, elbow, and shoulder. They help to reduce friction by acting as cushions.

Hip bursitis can occur due to several factors, such as:

  • acute injury
  • overuse
  • unequal leg lengths
  • spine disease
  • previous surgery
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • calcium deposits

The most common symptom of bursitis is pain. Initially, a sharp and intense pain occurs at the point of the hip, which later spreads across a larger area of the hip. Any activities that require hip movements can make the pain worse.

Diagnosis of bursitis takes place through a physical examination as well as imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs.

Treatment options for bursitis include:

  • modification of activities
  • rest from sports and exercise
  • physical therapy
  • NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation
  • corticosteroid injections along with a local anesthetic to reduce symptoms

Learn more about hip bursitis.

Hip dislocation occurs due to the forceful movement of the head of the thighbone, which doctors call the femur, out of the socket in the hip bone. There are two main types: posterior and anterior dislocation.

Posterior dislocation is where the femur dislocates out of the socket in a backward direction. In an anterior dislocation, the femur dislocates in a forward direction.

Dislocation of the hips causes damage to muscles, labrum, ligaments, soft tissues, and nerves.

Symptoms of hip dislocation include:

  • extreme pain
  • inability to move the leg
  • loss of sensation in the foot or ankle area

Diagnosis of hip dislocation mostly takes place by physical examination. Doctors can also recommend CT scans and X-rays to understand the exact location of the dislocated bones.

A doctor typically performs a reduction to treat dislocations, which means they use force to put the hip joint back in place. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.

Learn more about hip dislocations.

Hip fractures are cracks through the upper part of the femur. They most commonly occur in older people due to the weakening of the bone by osteoporosis. However, they can also occur due to an injury or fall on the side of the hip.

Stress fractures are a collection of small cracks. Hip stress fractures usually occur at the femoral neck. They commonly occur due to overuse and are prevalent in athletes and military recruits.

Symptoms of hip fractures include:

  • pain in the upper part of the thigh or groin
  • inability to stand
  • inability to move the upper part of the leg
  • swelling and bruising around the hip
  • shortening of the injured limb

Diagnosis of hip fractures occurs through physical examination and imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Although stress fractures can usually heal on their own with rest and the use of crutches, doctors recommend surgery for most people with hip fractures. The type of surgery depends upon the following:

  • the age of the person
  • the type of fracture
  • the level of mobility before fracture
  • the condition of the joint and bone

Postsurgical recovery from hip fractures typically takes 6–9 months.

Learn more about bone fractures.

Hip injuries are common in athletes, military personnel, and others who undergo extensive physical activities. There are various types, including contusions, strains, bursitis, fractures, and more.

It is best for people experiencing symptoms of a hip injury to immediately consult a healthcare professional. They can diagnose the cause of a person’s pain and recommend a treatment plan.