Leg and Hip Pain
The hip is an extremely important weight bearing joint that allows the body to walk, run and sit, and attaches the femur to the pelvis. Although the hip is a very strong joint, it can be damaged and cause considerable pain. The most common hip injuries occur from sports-related injuries, motor vehicle accidents arthritis and falls in elderly patients. Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability, and affects women more often than it does men.
The hip is a ball and socket joint where the pelvis connects to the femur. On the top of the femur is a round ball which fits into a socket formed by the pelvic bone. A group of muscles and ligaments keep the ball in the socket and prevent it from overextending.
Hip pain often comes from injuries. Hip dislocation and fractures in the femur are considered acute injuries and can be treated as such. Hip and leg pain can come from a number of different conditions though, including Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, avascular femoral head necrosis, labral tears and lumbar radiculitis.
When the spinal nerve in the lower back becomes irritated or aggravated, it causes a lumbar radiculitis. This condition is called referred pain because it tends to cause pain in the hip, though the pathology takes place in the lower back.
It is not always easy to diagnose hip pain because there are a number of etiologies that produce similar pain symptoms. The first step in a correct diagnosis is for the doctor to study a patient’s history and to conduct a full physical exam. Your doctor might order radiological films, blood work, or other lab work. Imaging is very helpful because it enables the doctor to see the pathology within the affected joint. Some of the imaging reports a doctor might request are: X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans.
There are several surgical and interventional options in the treatment of severe arthritis and joint pain. The most common and most often recommended treatment is a conservative therapy under the guidance of a pain specialist. Over-the-counter pain relievers along with physical therapy can significantly improve the postural stability in osteoarthritis patients, especially with hip pain. Joint injections are also a popular treatment that is gaining more popularity because it is minimally invasive and has a high success rate.