Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The hip joint attaches the leg to the torso of the body. In the hip joint, the head of the thighbone (femur) swivels in a socket, called the acetabulum, that is made up of pelvic bones. While many causes of hip pain can arise from the joint itself, there are numerous structures surrounding the hip that can also be the source of pain.
Trauma is often the cause of hip pain, but any source of inflammation may
cause pain in the hip area. Pain is one of the symptoms of inflammation, along
with swelling, warmth, and redness; together these are signals that a problem
Hip Pain Causes
Pain can arise from structures that are within the hip
joint or from structures surrounding the hip. The hip joint is a potential
space, meaning that there is a minimal amount of fluid inside it to allow the
femoral head to glide in the socket of the acetabulum. Any illness or injury
that causes inflammation will cause this space to fill with fluid or blood,
which stretches the hip capsule and results in pain.
The femoral head and the acetabulum are lined with articular cartilage that allows
the bones to move within the joint with less friction. Also, the socket area of the
acetabulum is covered with tough cartilage called the labrum. Just like any
other joint cartilage, these areas can wear away or tear and become the source
There are thick bands of tissue that surround the hip joint, forming a
capsule. These help maintain joint stability, especially with movement.
Movement at the hip joint is possible due to the muscles that surround the hip and their tendons that attach across the hip joint, allowing motion in different directions. Aside from controlling movement, these muscles act in concert to maintain joint stability. There are large bursas (closed fluid-filled sacs) that surround areas of the hip and allow the muscles and tendons to glide more easily over bony prominences. Any of these structures can become inflamed.
Pain from other sources can be referred to the hip, meaning that while the hip hurts, the problem may potentially originate elsewhere. Inflammation of the sciatic nerve as it arises from the spinal cord in the back can cause hip pain, especially if the L1 or L2 nerve roots are involved. Other types of nerve inflammation may manifest as hip pain, including pain arising in the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve of the thigh, which is often inflamed in pregnancy. Pain from an inguinal hernia
may also cause pain that is felt in the hip.
Hip pain is a nonspecific complaint that requires the health-care practitioner to find the underlying cause, from injury to illness. Without specific trauma, the approach to the diagnosis of hip pain requires an open mind.
Hip Contusion Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery Time
Medical Author: Benjamin C. Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
The hip joint is a "ball-in-socket" joint that attaches the thigh to the torso of the body. This allows the lower extremity to move in the many directions needed for
walking, jumping, sitting, and squatting. Small injuries in or around the hip can cause significant pain and loss of function. A
bruise, and a hip contusion is a common injury to the tissues around the hip that can affect hip function.
Hip contusions cause tiny blood vessels (capillaries) to break and cause the bleeding that characterizes the bruise.
The force of the injury can also cause damage and inflammation within the joint and to the structures that surround it. Understanding the mechanism of injury may help predict what structure is hurt, what tests need to be done, how long it's going to hurt, and what can be done to make it better.
Hip contusions can affect any of the structures that compose the joint.