Hips Do Lie - New York Spine and SportDecember 9, 2017 – Bronx, NY – The great philosopher of our times Shakira claimed “Hips don’t lie”. Respectfully, I have to disagree. When it comes to impairments related to the hip joint, the clinical presentation is not always straightforward meaning you could feel pain or have complaints in other parts of the body such as lower back, groin, knees and even balance although the underlying issue is in the hip joint. Let’s look at some key features of the hip joint:

  • The ball shaped head of femur with a socket in the pelvic bone forms the hip, making it a true ball and socket joint allowing 3 dimensional movements
  • It is surrounded by capsule, some of the toughest ligaments in the body and the largest, most powerful muscles of human body generating powerful movements
  • The hip joint also function as weight distributors, efficiently transmitting and distributing weight through the limbs from the upper body or from one lower limb to the other
  • Structural variations in the bony anatomy related to genetics or gender can make an individual prone to hip related issues
  • Activity related stress in ballerinas, golfers, gymnasts, soccer players and long distance runners has been implicated in certain structural hip impairments
  • More often lack of specific activity and sedentary lifestyle can contribute to similar complaints

Common hip related complaints are:

  • Pain in the groin, buttock or outer aspect of the hip
  • Difficulty rising up from a seated position or with activities such as stair climbing
  • Snapping, popping and locking sensation in the hip joint
  • Generalized limitation in hip mobility (often overlooked in persons with sedentary lifestyle)
  • Weakness in the hip movements is another key issue that is often overlooked by patients as they tend to compensate and eventually will experience symptoms in other parts of the body. For example, weakness in Gluteus medius muscle has been known to be a key factor causing patello-femoral dysfunction in soccer players
  • Weakness in the powerful hip muscles can also lead to balance impairments posing a risk for falls especially in the elderly

What to do:

If you notice any of the above listed symptoms or are concerned about the hip joint for yourself or your loved ones, speak with a medical care provider or physical therapist. There are some simple office based tests that can aid in the examination of hip impairments. Early identification and intervention can produce better, durable outcomes.