Hip Injuries

The hip joint comprises of the ball-shaped head of the thigh bone (femur), which articulates with a part of the pelvic bone (acetabulum) to form a ball and socket joint. The joint is designed to withstand a great deal of stress, but certain sports activities, running, jumping and falls can lead to hip injuries. Other causes include overuse and old age, which cause wear and tear of the joint.

The different types of hip injuries include:

  • Hip sprain: The ligaments connecting the bones of the hip joint become stretched and sometimes torn.
  • Hip strain: The muscle or tendon connected to the hip joint is stretched or torn.
  • Hip bursitis: The fluid filled sac (bursa) present between the bone and other moving parts becomes swollen due to overuse.
  • Hip dislocation: Ends of the hip joint bones move out of position.
  • Hip fracture: A break in one or more bones of the hip joint.
  • Hip osteoarthritis: A breakdown in the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in the hip joint.
  • Hip osteoporosis: Loss of bone mineral density, making them weak and prone to fracture.
  • Femoroacetabular impingement: Bones of the hip joint grow abnormally and do not fit together properly

Symptoms of hip injury include pain, swelling, redness, heat and inability to move the joint. There may even be a popping or tearing sound at the time of injury. In case of a fracture the bone may be deformed, with numbness and tingling sensation.

When you present to the clinic with a hip injury, your doctor will review your history and perform a thorough physical examination. Diagnosis of hip injuries involve use of:

  • X-rays: Imaging technique to diagnose fractures and dislocations of the hip joint.
  • Arthrography: Imaging technique that uses CT, MRI or fluoroscopy along with the injection of a dye into the bloodstream or injured joint to evaluate injuries of the cartilages, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Ultrasound: Imaging technique that uses sound waves to create pictures of the muscle and other soft tissues.
  • Hip arthroscopy: A minimally invasive surgery, where a small camera is directly inserted into the hip joint to evaluate any injury or disease.
  • Cytological examination of joint fluid: Evaluation of joint fluids to detect conditions such as septic arthritis, which can cause infection of the hip

Treatment of hip disorders depends on the type of injury and usually includes rest, ice, medication, physical therapy and steroid injection. In case of infection of the hip joint the underlying cause or disease should be treated. Chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis may require physical therapy and occupational therapy to help resume the desired activity level. Arthroscopic hip surgery is commonly recommended to treat labral tears, injuries to the articular cartilage, hip impingement and removal of loose bodies present in the joint.


  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Website
  • The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Website