Injured, Now What?

When Your Hip Goes from Ball and Socket to Ball and Chain

By Tanya Davies
Published

You get up early for a run, part of your training plan for the charity 10 km race next month. However, after 10 minutes, you pull up with a pain in your hip. You walk for a bit and start running again but that pain will not go away. You stop and walk home, thinking, “What have I done?” Sound familiar?

“The hip is one of the trickiest joints in your body” explains Samira Razavi, a Certified Athletic Therapist with Futsal Club Toronto and Competitive Edge Physiotherapy in Mississauga. “A lot of muscles attach into the hip from all directions.”

When you injure your hip from running, playing golf, dancing, or gardening, you may be asking: Now what?

First, a quick anatomy lesson on the hip: The hip is a basic ball-and-socket joint. The head of the femur (thigh bone) is the ball and there is a round indentation in your pelvic bone, which is the socket. You have cartilage lining the joint, and ligaments that attach your pelvic bone to your femur. Muscles connect around the hip, allowing the joint to move. Your hip joint moves every time you move your legs, so when you walk, run, climb stairs, or squat to pick something up, it’s called into action.

When you get hip pain, it is generally located in one of three areas:

  • Front hip and groin (anterior)
  • Back hip and buttock (posterior)
  • Outer side of the hip (lateral). 

When your hip starts to hurt, the best thing to do is to stop the activity you are doing. So, where does your hip hurt?

If the pain is in the front or back of your hip, it could be tendinitis or a strain. Tendinitis occurs when a tendon, which is tissue that attaches muscle to bone, becomes inflamed. Tendinitis is can also be attributed to increased training, whatever your activity. Strains in the front of the hip can occur with repeated hip movements or, when your foot slips backwards during an activity, such as running on snow. Treatment for both can include total rest, cutting back on your training temporarily, stretching the hip area, massage and then regaining strength to support the damaged tissues and prevent re-injury. If the pain in on the outside of your hip it may be bursitis, which is a condition that occurs when small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae located near your joints, become inflamed. Treatment can include rest and ice applied to the area that hurts. 

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If you have tried all of this and the pain is still there, you need to see a health care provider, such as a Certified Athletic Therapist. An Athletic Therapist will assess your injury and prescribe active rehabilitation, using various manual therapies.

“With a lot of chronic conditions, such as bursitis and tendinopathies, I treat using manual therapy techniques, such as muscle energy technique, joint mobilizations and soft tissue release,” explains Samira. “With sprains and strains, it’s about addressing the tissue, so I will use therapeutic ultrasound to help with the healing. Once movement is gained, I get my clients to work on strengthening and mobility specific to their activity, whether it’s a sport, gardening or any other activities of daily living.”

The treatment varies but the objective is the same: Getting you back to your favorite activity and answering the “now what?” question.

Contributing Athletic Therapist
Samira Razavi

BPHE, ATC, CAT(C)

Currently Head Athletic Therapist at Futsal Club Toronto, Samira provides immediate on-field emergency care, injury prevention techniques, and rehabilitation and has worked with varsity athletes at George Brown College, the University of Toronto Soccer teams, and the Ontario Soccer Center at both the provincial and national level. She also works at Competitive Edge Physiotherapy and Sports Conditioning when not on the soccer field or futsal court.