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Common Hip Pain Causes and What they Mean to You

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

The hip is a joint that can move in all directions. Since it is a very mobile joint, we need to make sure we keep mobility throughout our lives. As humans, we tend to sit for the majority of our day. This causes us to not use the full range of motion for the hip as we should. Most of the common diagnoses are due to this lack of movement.

While these are the common diagnoses when it comes to the hip, this does not mean this is where your pain is coming from. Many times, the sight of pain is not the place that needs to be treated, it is just the most sensitive area in your brain.

Common hip pain diagnosis


Osteoarthritis is the gradual wearing away of the hip joint cartilage due to inflammation inside the joint. This can have many different causes ranging from repetitive overuse of the hips or lack of movement to other conditions that weaken the cartilage. The pain from osteoarthritis can be found at many different locations including the thigh, glutes, knee, or groin.


The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that helps reduce friction between moving tissues of the body. The Trochanteric bursa which is found on the outside of the hip usually causes pain and tenderness on the outer hip or thigh. When the muscles and tendons over the bursa are not able to slide very well, the bursa becomes swollen and may cause pain.

Labral tear

The labrum is a ring of cartilage around the rim of the hip joint socket. The labrum acts like a gasket to hold the head of the femur (ball of the thighbone) within the hip socket. When the hip joint is not centrated, meaning the muscle tension around the hip is not balance, will cause more pressure in specific areas of the labrum. This extra pressure will cause fraying or deterioration of the labrum.

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)

FAI is extra bone growth on either/both femur (thigh bone) or acetabulum (socket holds the head of the femur). There are three types of impingement one can find.

· Pincer deformity- Extra bone that protrudes from the acetabulum. This piece of bone can put extra pressure on the labrum of the hip.

· Cam deformity- Bone growth that is found on the head of the femur. This can inhibit the motion and rotation of the femur inside the acetabulum.

· Combined or Mixed- This deformity has both cam and pincer types at the same time.

What to do about these diagnoses?

These conditions can be seen as chronic decentration of the hip. Decentration is seen as unbalanced muscle tension around the joint. The poor function of the hip will cause adaptations of the tissue to try to protect itself, and keep the hip working as long as possible. Catching hip dysfunction early can prevent further deterioration that causes these diagnoses.

For all of these conditions, conservative care consisting of chiropractic, physical therapy, and a well-designed training program should be the first line of treatment. Learning and training ideal movement patterns can help reduce or abolish your pain while improving your quality of life.

BONUS: Give this video a try if you have tight hips that will not get better with foam rolling or stretching.

If you have been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions and need help getting out of pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kopp today!

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