Hip pain when walking can cause a lot of discomfort and disrupt one’s normal day-to-day life. Read on to know more about the causes and remedy of hip pain.
Hip pain can be felt in and around the hip joint area, and can even extend to the middle of the thighs, lower back or groins. Sometimes, the pain is intense and excruciating. It can be also gnawing and widespread, making it difficult to walk, sit, sleep or carry on with the normal day-to-day activities. It can be felt on one or both the hips.
Hip pain while walking can be caused due to various reasons, from minor muscle strain to hip bone fractures. It can also be an indication of a serious medical condition; so the sooner you figure out what is causing the pain, the better it is.
Arthritis is one of the common cause of hip pain. It occurs when the cartilage which cushions your hip bones wears away, leaving raw bones without any padding. Arthritic conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are commonly associated with hip pain in elderly people. In case of severe arthritis, the pain lingers on even when you stop walking or lie down. Sometimes, it gets worse when you are in one position for a long time.
Bursitis is a condition where the bursa (sac-like formations containing fluids that cushions the hip bones) and underlying soft tissues and muscles, gets inflamed. Bursa can get inflamed due to injury, overuse, infection, excessive pressure or underlying rheumatic conditions. Bursitis is another common cause of hip pain when walking.
Tendons are the thick cord of collagen tissues that attach the bones to the muscles. Inflammation of tendons is known as tendinitis. Overuse and injury can cause inflammation in the tendons of the hip area, causing hip pain while walking.
► Hip Bone Fracture
Hip bone fractures can be caused by accidents or injury. It is generally common in elderly people suffering from osteoarthritis, wherein the bones becomes weaker and thinner, making them prone to cracks and fractures. The hip pain caused due to fracture is intense and sharp and needs quick medical intervention.
Osteonecrosis is a condition wherein the flow of blood into the bones is restricted, and it causes death of the bone tissue leading to its collapse. Osteonecrosis can be caused due to long-term use of steroid medication, injury, hip dislocation, etc. It causes intense pain in the hip when walking.
► Snapping Hip Syndrome
Snapping hip syndrome is characterized by an audible snap that occurs in and around the hip. It can be classified by the location of snapping as intra-articular or extra-articular. It causes hip pain while walking and usually diminishes with rest.
► Muscle Strain
The muscle and tendons around the hip and pelvis may get strained due to overstretching. Sports people are at a greater risk of developing muscle strain or muscle pull. However, it is not restricted to athletes only, and can happen even when doing everyday tasks. It can cause mild to medium hip pain while walking.
► Dislocation of Hips
Due to some developmental issue, the hip joint may not develop properly and the hips might be dislocated or out of position. This condition is called developmental dysplasia. It may not be painful during childhood, but may lead to arthritis, and thus cause hip
► Lumbar Pain
Lumbar pain is the pain that you feel on the lower end of your back. It can be caused by a sudden injury or sprain to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back. Such pain often spreads to the hip and causes pain while walking.
Depending on the cause of the hip pain, various treatment options are available. However, if hip pain while walking is chronic, it is advisable to consult a doctor, and post diagnosis, get appropriate treatment. Possible treatments to deal with hip pain while walking are:
► Over-the-counter or prescription pain relief medicines can be used for people suffering from arthritis. It will not cure the problem but will ease the pain to a great extent.
► If the pain is related to an injury, it is best to take plentiful of rest and avoid any stressful activity. It will help to heal the injury faster and hence relieve you of the pain.
► If the pain is related to over-stressing of the hip muscles, it is advisable to cut back on any activities that may aggravate the problem.
► If your pain is due to some serious condition, it is best to follow a doctor’s advice. In situations where surgeries are involved, it is very important to take proper care post surgery as well.
► Keeping ice pads or heating pads on the hip for 20 – 25 minutes proves to be a great way to reduce the pain.
► Holistic treatments from chiropractor, acupressure specialist or massage therapist are also beneficial in some cases.
► Take help of physical therapy. Physiotherapists use different methods to increase strength of the bones. By regularly performing the exercises, targeting the hip joints, patients regain mobility and pre-injury level of any physical activity.
Tips to Manage the Pain
Apart from the above treatment options, we can handle the hip pain better by making certain changes to our lifestyle.
► Try to lose weight, in case you are overweight. This will subsequently reduce the pressure exerted on your hips while walking, and save you from hip problems in the future.
► Sleep well and give your body an opportunity to heal. Avoid sleeping on the painful hip. It will be good if you use a foam eggcrate mattress for sleeping.
► If there is severe hip pain, use a crutch or a cane while walking. It will provide you some comfort as it will put less pressure on your hips.
► Wear comfortable walking, cross-training or running shoes, as they are extra light and specially designed to enhance the stability of the foot. Wear arch-support shoes if you have flat feet.
► Stretching the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint on a regular basis can relieve hip pain.
► Perform some stretching exercises. Avoid weight-bearing exercises, as they may make the situation even worse.
Hip joint is responsible for bearing the weight of the body. Hence, any pain in the hip joint may jeopardize your daily activities. If you are suffering from hip pain while walking, you should consult your doctor as early as possible to exact the cause of the pain. Early diagnosis will help you to avoid any further complications. Following a healthy lifestyle is also a key factor to keep hip pain at bay.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.