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Why are hip problems common?

The hip is where your thigh bone (the femur) joins your pelvis. It is the largest joint in the body and called a ball and socket joint. The top of your thigh bone is shaped like a ball. This ball or round piece of bone fits into a cup-like area or hollow socket (the acetabulum) in your pelvis. The ball and socket are surrounded by cushioning tissue called cartilage.

With its unique design, your hip is a strong and flexible joint. However, the hip joint is put under pressure because it supports your body weight. The most common hip condition is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage is damaged or wears away over time. It is possible to break your hip bones during a fall, especially if they are weak and brittle. Other causes of hip pain are sports injuries, overuse of the joint, infections and conditions that have existed since birth.

Hip problems are more common in older people, but can affect anybody at any age.

What are the symptoms of hip problems?

Signs and symptoms of hip problems may include:

  • pain on the inside of the hip joint or in the groin
  • pain on the outside of the hip joint or in the buttocks
  • pain down the front of the leg, thigh and knee
  • difficulty in putting weight through the leg on the affected side
  • stiffness, swelling or tenderness
  • limping
  • a reduced range of movement
  • a snapping sensation or popping sound when the hip joint moves

If you have hip pain, this can make it hard to carry out your daily activities. Walking, bending and even standing may be uncomfortable.

What are the most common hip problems?

Some of the most common hip problems are:

  • arthritis (when the cartilage in the hip joint breaks down and no longer cushions the bones)
  • hip fractures (cracks or breaks in the top of the thigh bone near the hip joint)
  • bursitis (when the small fluid-filled sacs called bursae in the hip become inflamed)
  • hip tendonitis (when the tendons that connect muscle to bone in your hip become inflamed)
  • hip labral tear (a tear in the ring of cartilage around the socket of the hip joint)
  • hip sprains and strains (when the muscles or connective tissues supporting the hip joint are stretched beyond their limits or torn)
  • hip impingement or femoroacetabular impingement (when extra bone grows in the hip joint and prevents smooth movement)
  • hip dysplasia (when the hip socket does not completely cover the ball of the thigh bone)
  • osteonecrosis (when the blood flow to the hip joint is reduced and the bone breaks down)
  • an infection in the hip bone or joint, such as osteomyelitis (a painful bone infection) or septic arthritis (a sudden, severe infection of a joint) synovitis (when the protective lining of the hip joint becomes inflamed) iliotibial band syndrome (when the connective tissues in your thigh are overused and become inflamed)
  • snapping hip syndrome (a snapping sensation around the hip joint with certain movements)

How can Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre help me?

If you have injured your hip or get pain that affects your everyday activities, it is important to see a healthcare professional.

We have a specialised Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre at Parkside Hospital. With more than 40 orthopaedic and sports medicine consultants, we can treat a wide range of hip problems and injuries.

There are minimal waiting times for an appointment and we have set up rapid access clinics. To diagnose your hip problem, we can perform digital X-rays, blood tests and CT, MRI, ultrasound and bone density (DEXA) scans. The private health insurance company Bupa recognises us as a high quality MRI and CT scan centre.

Your consultant prepares an individual treatment plan to suit your needs. We offer non-surgical options and the latest surgical techniques, including minimally invasive procedures. The treatments that we carry out include:

  • hip arthroscopy (keyhole surgery to diagnose and treat problems in the hip joint)
  • hip replacement surgery (a common operation to replace a damaged hip joint with an artificial joint called an implant)
  • hip resurfacing (an operation to replace the damaged surface of the ball and socket in the hip joint with a metal covering, which helps the bones to move smoothly)

Our team

Our team includes:

  • orthopaedic consultants
  • hip surgeons
  • rheumatologists (healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat conditions affecting the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles)
  • pain management experts
  • nurses

These experts support you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.

We also work closely with our physiotherapists. They can help you return to fitness in the shortest possible time. Depending on your condition, we can offer you various complementary therapies including acupuncture, massage and hydrotherapy.

Book now

Appointments are available six days a week at our Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre. If you have a hip problem, our orthopaedic consultants can give you expert advice and treatment without delay.

We offer all-inclusive price packages for most orthopaedic and sports injury conditions. There is one simple agreed price that does not change. This gives you the reassurance of knowing exactly how much your treatment costs in advance. For information about prices, please call 020 3925 1062 or complete this form online.