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Hip Pain In Athletes

Athletic Hip Injuries

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Updated March 23, 2009

Listed are some common cause of hip pain in athletes:

  • Muscle Strains
    The most common injuries of the hip and groin region in athletes are muscle strain injuries. Muscles around the hip joint are especially prone to this type of injury because they are subject to eccentric contraction. Eccentric contractions cause tremendous forces in the muscle and can lead to a muscle strain. Muscle strains around the hip include groin pulls and hamstring strains.

  • Hip Bursitis
    Inflammation of the bursa over the outside of the hip joint, so-called trochanteric bursitis, can cause pain with hip movement. Treatment of hip bursitis is often effective, but the condition has a problem of coming back and sometimes becoming a persistent problem.

  • Contusions (Hip Pointer)
    A direct blow to the outside of the hip causes an injury to one of the large bones of the pelvis, the ileum. When a contusion is sustained in an athlete over the outside of the hip, the injury is called a hip pointer.

  • Stress Fractures
    Stress fractures of the hip are usually seen in long distance runners, and much more commonly in women than in men. These injuries are usually seen in endurance athletes with deficient nutrition or eating disorders.

  • Hip Labral Tear
    The labrum of the hip is a cuff of thick tissue that surround the hip socket. The labrum helps to support the hip joint. When a labral tear of the hip occurs, a piece of this tissue can become pinched in the joint causing pain and catching sensations.

  • Osteitis Pubis
    Osteitis pubis is thought to be due to the repetitive pull of muscles over the front of the hip joint. Usually pain is activity related and often seen in runners, soccer players and hockey players. The x-rays may show signs causing concern for infection, but osteitis pubis usually resolves with rest and anti-inflammatory medications.

  • Sports Hernias
    Sports hernias are a problem seen most commonly in hockey players, but can be seen in other sports that require repetitive twisting and turning at high speeds. The problem is thought to be due to an imbalance of the strong muscles of the thigh and the relatively weaker muscles of the abdomen.

  • Snapping Hip Syndrome
    Snapping hip syndrome is a word used to describe three distinct hip problems. The first is when the IT band snaps over the outside of the thigh. The second occurs when the deep hip flexor snaps over the front of the hip joint. Finally, tears of the cartilage, or labrum, around the hip socket can cause a snapping sensation.

  • Traumatic Hip Subluxation & Dislocation
    Complete dislocation of the hip joint is a very unusual hip injury--most commonly hip dislocations occur in high speed car crashes. However, hip subluxations, an injury where the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint is pushed part of the way out of joint, are being recognized as a possible cause of hip pain in athletes. A hip subluxation is the type of injury that is thought to have ended Bo Jackson's athletic career.

  • Hip Arthritis
    Arthritis of the hips is increasingly seen in athletes as the age in which we participate in sports increases. Older athletes can experience joint stiffness and pain as a result of hip arthritis.

  • Low Back Strain
    While not a problem of the hip region, low back problems can often cause pain around the buttock and hips.
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