Hip pain and buttock pain are two distinct types of pain that can be easily confused due to their proximity. Hip pain originates from the groin region, located at the front of the body between the thigh and the torso. It is typically associated with issues related to the hip joint and surrounding structures. However, it’s worth noting that pain on the side of the hip may also be referred to as hip pain, even though it often arises from muscular structures around the hip rather than the hip joint itself.
On the other hand, buttock pain is localized to the back of the body in the region of the buttock. This type of pain is usually caused by issues in the muscles at the back of the buttocks or from the joints in the spine and pelvis, such as the sacroiliac joint, rather than originating directly from the hip joint. Although hip pain and buttock pain share proximity and can be mistaken for each other, their causes and origins are significantly different. Understanding these differences is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of patients experiencing such pain. Luckily, Singaporeans can seek the expertise of an orthopaedic surgeon for front hip pain treatment and hip pain treatment without surgery.
Image source: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/side-view-woman-having-backache-while-working-from-home_11905059.htm#query=hip%20pain&position=5&from_view=search&track=ais
Hip pain can arise from various sources related to the hip joint and surrounding structures. Common causes include issues with bones, cartilage, and soft tissues around the joint. Fractures, osteoarthritis, and avascular necrosis (resulting from loss of blood supply to the bone) are some bone and cartilage-related causes. Damage to the labrum, a cartilaginous ring that stabilizes the joint, is another frequent cause, potentially leading to joint osteoarthritis. Injuries to muscles and tendons overlying the hip joint, like the rectus femoris, can also be responsible for hip pain.
Hip problems can be broadly divided into injury-related and non-injury related. As the hip joint is well-protected by muscles, bone injuries are often high-energy incidents, while low-energy hip injuries are more common in elderly individuals with poor bone health. Examples of hip injuries include motor vehicular accidents, falls from heights, and hip fractures in the elderly with compromised bone health.
Non-injury causes of hip pain encompass muscle and tendon injuries from overuse or strain during physical activities, blood supply issues to the femoral head leading to localized bone death (avascular necrosis), damage to the cartilage labrum often related to structural abnormalities in the hip joint, and worn-out hip joint (osteoarthritis) where cartilage over the hip joint surfaces has degraded.
Hip pain can stem from various conditions affecting the hip joint and surrounding structures, ranging from bone and cartilage problems to injuries of muscles, tendons, and blood vessels around the hip. Understanding the underlying causes is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment to alleviate hip pain and improve overall hip health.
Image source: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/pain-hip-joint_923791.htm#query=hip%20pain&position=21&from_view=search&track=ais
Several risk factors contribute to the development of hip pain. A family history of hip osteoarthritis can increase the likelihood of experiencing hip pain as it may have a genetic or congenital component. Engaging in sporting activities that involve repetitive hip flexion, such as muay thai and taekwondo can put strain on the hip joint and lead to pain over time. Additionally, injuries sustained during sports activities can also contribute to hip pain.
Lifestyle choices can also play a role in hip pain. Frequent and excessive consumption of alcohol has been associated with an increased risk of hip pain and joint issues. High levels of lipids (fats) in the blood can contribute to conditions that affect the hip joint, such as avascular necrosis, further elevating the risk of hip pain. Moreover, activities like diving that put sudden stress on the hip joint can lead to injuries and subsequent pain. Being aware of these risk factors is essential for individuals to take preventative measures and make informed choices to protect their hip health and minimize the likelihood of experiencing hip pain.
When visiting the doctor for hip pain, they will begin with a medical interview to understand your symptoms. A focused examination of the hip, knee, and lower back will follow, along with an assessment of your gait through a short walk. To aid diagnosis, plain radiographs of the pelvis and hip are commonly conducted. In some cases, an MRI scan may be necessary, especially if tendon/muscle or cartilage issues are suspected. The diagnosis process involves a combination of clinical evaluation, history, and appropriate investigations like radiographs and MRI scans.
Image source: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/woman-with-sore-loin_1892093.htm#query=hip%20pain&position=6&from_view=search&track=ais
Non-invasive treatments offer valuable options for individuals seeking relief from hip pain. The approach to conservative management varies based on the underlying cause of the pain. Lifestyle modifications, including weight loss, may be recommended to reduce stress on the hip joint. Pain-relieving medications can provide temporary relief, and physiotherapy can aid in strengthening the muscles around the hip, improving flexibility, and reducing discomfort. In some cases, walking aids such as canes or walkers might be utilized to alleviate pressure on the affected hip, promoting better mobility and comfort. By exploring these non-invasive measures, individuals can find relief and improved hip function without the need for surgical intervention.
Medications play a crucial role in managing various health conditions and symptoms, including those related to hip pain. Although medications can effectively control symptoms and provide relief, they may not address the underlying root cause of the problem. One category of medications commonly used for managing hip pain includes anti-inflammatory pain medications like NSAIDs, which help reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort. Additionally, healthcare professionals may prescribe both opiate and non-opiate pain medications to address different levels of pain intensity. While these medications offer significant relief, it is essential to understand that they typically work to manage the symptoms rather than curing the underlying issues causing the hip pain. Integrating medication usage with other treatment modalities can provide comprehensive care for individuals experiencing hip pain, ensuring improved quality of life and functionality.
Physiotherapy offers numerous benefits for individuals seeking effective treatment for their hip issues. Through targeted exercises and therapeutic techniques, physiotherapy aims to improve the range of motion and stability of the hip joint. By enhancing flexibility and strengthening the muscles around the hip, this form of therapy can potentially alleviate pain and discomfort associated with hip problems. Moreover, physiotherapy plays a vital role in post-operative rehabilitation, aiding in the recovery process after hip surgeries. The tailored exercises and rehabilitation programs provided by physiotherapists can help individuals regain strength, mobility, and functionality, promoting a faster and smoother recovery. Overall, physiotherapy is a valuable and holistic approach to managing hip issues, addressing both pain relief and enhanced joint function to improve the overall quality of life.
In chronic or severe cases of hip injury or disease, surgery may be necessary to address the underlying issues effectively. The specific type of surgery depends on the cause of hip pain and the patient’s individual condition. For instance, hip osteoarthritis may require joint replacement surgery, either as a partial (hemiarthroplasty) or total hip arthroplasty, to alleviate pain and improve joint function. Labral tears can be treated with hip joint arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to repair torn cartilage labrums.
In cases of avascular necrosis, where bone damage results from loss of blood supply, surgical options like core decompression and other open techniques may be considered. These surgeries aim to improve blood flow and preserve the hip joint. The choice of surgery is tailored to the patient’s specific symptoms and underlying pathology. In severe hip injuries, surgery may involve fixing broken bones with metal plates and screws to restore stability and promote healing. These surgical interventions are essential in managing chronic or severe cases of hip injury or disease, enabling patients to find relief from pain, regain mobility, and improve their overall quality of life.
Image source: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/this-bed-is-comfortable-as-i thought_12468439.htm#page=2&query=hip%20pain&position=3&from_view=search&track=ais
Making simple lifestyle changes can significantly help manage your condition and enhance overall well-being. Reducing stress is vital, as stress can exacerbate various health conditions. Incorporating a balanced diet into your routine will aid in maintaining a healthy weight, which can be beneficial for managing your condition effectively. Engaging in regular and appropriate exercise will contribute to maintaining mobility and muscle strength, promoting better physical function. Additionally, using ambulatory aids, such as canes or walkers, can improve accessibility and mobility, providing a sense of independence and positively impacting both your psychosocial and somatic well-being. Embracing these lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on your condition and lead to a better quality of life.
When discussing hip pain treatment options with your doctor, it is essential to undergo a comprehensive work-up to identify the specific sources of pain accurately. This may involve medical interviews, physical examinations, and possibly imaging or other diagnostic tests. Engage in a frank and open discussion with your healthcare provider about your expectations regarding treatment outcomes. This open dialogue allows you to understand the potential benefits and limitations of each treatment option, helping you make informed decisions about your care. Your doctor will work with you to develop a step-wise plan that integrates healthcare outcomes with lifestyle modifications and changes. This plan will be tailored to your individual needs and preferences, ensuring a holistic approach to managing your hip pain effectively and improving your overall well-being.
Consulting an orthopaedic surgeon for hip pain is crucial due to the complexity and variety of treatment options available. An orthopaedic surgeon can conduct a comprehensive work-up to identify the exact source of hip pain, differentiating it from other related issues like buttock pain. They can discuss treatment expectations and options openly, helping patients make informed decisions. Depending on the underlying cause, the surgeon may recommend various surgical procedures, including joint replacements for hip osteoarthritis, arthroscopy for labral tears, and open techniques for avascular necrosis. For severe cases, surgery to fix broken bones with metal plates or keyhole surgery to repair torn cartilage labrums may be necessary. Combining non-invasive treatments, such as lifestyle modifications and physiotherapy, with surgical interventions allows for a comprehensive and tailored approach to effectively manage hip pain and improve overall well-being. Therefore, consulting an orthopaedic surgeon is essential to receive specialized care and explore the most suitable treatment options for individual hip conditions.
Determining whether your hip pain is due to an injury or a medical condition involves a thorough examination of your medical history. By revisiting your medical history, your doctor can identify potential clues that may point to the cause of the hip pain. Family history also plays a significant role, especially when there is no prior history of note. A comprehensive work-up, including various investigations as deemed necessary, will provide valuable insights into the underlying cause of your hip pain. This combination of medical history, family history, and comprehensive investigations helps in accurately diagnosing the origin of the pain, whether it is related to an injury or a medical condition.
Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and appropriate exercise is essential, as excess weight can place extra strain on the hips and increase the risk of injuries. It’s also crucial to avoid leading a sedentary lifestyle and engage in regular physical activity. Activities like walking, swimming, or cycling can help keep the hip joints and surrounding muscles strong and flexible, reducing the likelihood of injuries. Additionally, developing healthy exercise habits is important, which includes incorporating proper warm-up and cool-down routines before and after physical activity. Warming up helps prepare the muscles and joints for exercise, while cooling down allows the body to gradually return to a resting state, reducing the risk of soft tissue injuries.
Targeting hip health in physiotherapy helps alleviate hip pain long-term. Physiotherapy targets hip joint range of motion to improve mobility. This increased range of motion helps hip pain sufferers accomplish daily tasks more comfortably. Hip muscle maintenance and strengthening are key to physiotherapy. Strengthening hip muscles reduces hip discomfort and instability. Stronger muscles support the joint, especially during weight-bearing exercises, improving hip function and physical performance. Physiotherapy reduces injury risk by strengthening muscles and hips. It addresses underlying deficiencies or imbalances that may have caused the hip discomfort, lowering the risk of re-injury or worsening.
No, there are no specific medications specifically designed for managing hip pain symptoms. Consulting with an orthopaedic surgeon is essential to obtain personalized treatment plans for hip pain. They can thoroughly assess your specific condition, discuss available treatment options, and tailor a plan that addresses your unique needs and provides the best possible outcomes.
When deciding between non-invasive and surgical treatments for hip pain, it is crucial to consider the appropriateness of the treatment for each individual patient. Factors such as the patient’s age, overall health, severity of the hip condition, and personal preferences should be considered. A patient-specific approach is essential, tailoring the treatment plan to address the underlying symptoms, the patient’s overall condition, and their expectations for pain relief and functional improvement.
The Orthopaedic and Pain Practice provides comprehensive care tailored to individuals with orthopaedic needs, offering diagnosis, comprehensive treatment options, and personalized rehabilitation plans to enhance mobility and improve quality of life. With a team of specialized orthopaedic surgeons and facilities, the clinic is dedicated to delivering solutions for musculoskeletal conditions.
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Hip pain. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hip-pain/basics/when-to-see-doctor/sym-20050684
Cleveland Clinic. (2023). Hip pain. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21118-hip-pain
Dr Yong Ren graduated from the National University of Singapore’s Medical faculty and embarked on his orthopaedic career soon after. Upon completion of his training locally, he served briefly as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon in Khoo Teck Puat hospital before embarking on sub-specialty training in Switzerland at the famed Inselspital in Bern.
He underwent sub-specialty training in pelvic and spinal surgery, and upon his return to Singapore served as head of the orthopaedic trauma team till 2019. He continues to serve as Visiting Consultant to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Well versed in a variety of orthopaedic surgeries, he also served as a member of the country council for the local branch of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (Trauma) in Singapore. He was also involved in the training of many of the young doctors in Singapore and was appointed as an Assistant Professor by the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Prior to his entry into the private sector, he also served as core faculty for orthopaedic resident training by the National Healthcare Group.
Dr Yong Ren brings to the table his years of experience as a teacher and trainer in orthopaedic surgery. With his expertise in minimally invasive fracture surgery, pelvic reconstructive surgery, hip and knee surgery as well as spinal surgery, he is uniquely equipped with the tools and expertise necessary to help you on your road to recovery.