Hip tendonitis occurs when one or more of the tendons that attach various muscles to the hip bone are damaged. The pelvis and hip joints take the strain of supporting the bulk of the body’s weight in an upright position, both stationary and in movement. The muscles in this area are bulky and strong to create powerful movements but the tendons are susceptible to injury.
The Cause of Hip Tendonitis
Repetitive movements and exercising outside the scope of the body’s fitness are major causes of hip tendonitis. When a person starts a new type of exercise or sport, their muscles and tendons may not be accustomed to the movements required and injury can occur. Similarly, when increasing the intensity and duration of exercise, injury can occur if the progression is taken too suddenly, without proper preparation.
The Symptoms of Hip Tendonitis
Discomfort on movement is usually the first sign of hip tendonitis; this can be felt anywhere in the hip area and the exact spot may be difficult to locate. If the person continues to exercise, the discomfort becomes pain when a variety of movements are attempted.
The pain is caused by inflammation in the tendon, or tendons, which is the result of the injury. Inflammation also causes the area to feel hot; swelling and redness are other tendonitis symptoms but these may be harder to spot in the hip area.
Many movements that involve the legs and hips can cause pain; getting out of bed is difficult. It can be hard to get comfortable in bed, as the hip is painful in several different positions. This causes loss of sleep and irritability.
It can be difficult to isolate the exact place that is painful with hip tendonitis and so most people consult their doctor about the cause of their pain. Imaging tests like x-ray and MRI might be done to find possible fractures. Conservative treatment options are usually tried first and only if these are unsuccessful might further treatments be considered. Surgery is a last resort treatment for hip tendonitis.
Rest is an important part of the treatment as the injured tendon needs time to heal. Ice packs help relieve the pain in the early days and they are also effective in reducing inflammation. NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory medication reduce the inflammation and so relieve pain. Your doctor might prescribe stronger NSAIDs if you need them.
When resting, the tendons, muscles and ligaments shorten and so gentle stretching exercises help in the recovery when the pain has eased. Any exercise that causes the pain to worsen should be stopped.
The Prevention of Hip Tendonitis
The best way to prevent hip tendonitis is to make sure you warm up thoroughly before you do any exercise or play sport. You need to do exercises that stretch the front, back and side of the hips and thighs. After exercise, cool down with similar stretches.
When you are extending the time or intensity of your exercise, do it gradually to allow your body time to become accustomed to the new activity level. Start any new activity or sport slowly and gently, to prevent any damage to tendons and muscles.
Exercise on even ground and safe, stable equipment to avoid injury. Wear the appropriate footwear for the activity, so that your feet and ankles are fully supported and cushioned. If you are feeling unwell, either skip the exercise, or at least take it very easy, to avoid hip tendonitis.