Appropriate treatment is key.
As an athlete, your hips play a vital role in your performance. They bear the brunt of your body weight, provide stability, and allow you to twist and turn quickly and safely. So when a hip or groin injury occurs, either from overuse or a sudden impact, it’s important to treat it properly. That’s where the Henry Ford team of sports medicine experts comes in. With decades of experience seeing both professional and amateur athletes in southeast and south central Michigan, we’re the region’s leader in treating injuries like hip impingement, hip flexor strains, and more.
Hip impingement/labral tear (FAI)
Hip impingement, AKA Femoroace tabular impingement (FAI), involves abnormal wear or contact between the hip’s bones, specifically the ball and socket of the hip joint. Over time, this friction can damage the joint causing pain and limiting activity.
- Stiffness in the thigh, hip or groin
- Pain in the hip, groin or lower back
- Pain after prolonged sitting or walking
There are two major bursae (small sacs filled with fluid) in the hip that help cushion the hip joint. When either of these become irritated and inflamed, hip bursitis can occur, causing pain while running bicycling, or standing for long periods of time.
- Pain on the outside of the hip and thigh or in the buttock, especially when lying down or walking up stairs
A hip dislocation occurs when the hip bone is pulled or pushed out of place, typically due to excessive force.
- Inability to move the leg
- Little to no feeling in the foot or ankle
Hip Flexor Strain
Your hip flexors allow you to bend at the knee and lift at the waist. When these muscles stretch or tear, the hip flexor becomes strained. The injury is common among runners as well as people who play soccer, football or hockey.
- Pain when lifting the thigh to the chest
- Tenderness at the front of your hip
- Bruising or swelling in the hip/thigh
Oftentimes, repetitive stress from high-impact aerobic exercise (like distance running) can lead to small cracks in the hip bone known as stress fractures.
- Pain in the front of the groin while standing or moving
- Difficulty running or walking up stairs
Average recovery time
A few weeks to a few months.
When to see a doctor
If your hip pain is minor, avoid athletic activity for a few days and allow the hip to rest. If your pain subsists after a week, consult a doctor. Pain and discomfort inside your hip or groin area may indicate a problem with your hip joint, and pain on the outside of your hip, thigh, or buttocks may indicate a problem with your muscles, tendons or ligaments.
Other reasons to see a doctor include:
- Low back pain in addition to hip pain
- Increased stiffness or pain during and after athletic activities
- Clicking, locking or snapping in the hip
- Pressure or tightness
How we treat hip injuries
At Henry Ford, we treat hip injuries with a comprehensive approach that begins with a physical assessment by a primary care sports physician. He or she will identify the source of your pain and diagnose the injury. Once a diagnosis has been made, we’ll design a custom treatment plan that ensures your hip joint is restored to healthy, working order.
R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) — When a hip injury first occurs, patients should rest the affected area to prevent further injury from occurring; ice it to reduce pain and compress it to reduce swelling.
Physical Therapy — Many hip injuries can be treated with physical therapy, either on its own or in conjunction with surgery. For recovering patients, Henry Ford’s rehabilitation team takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining exercise and strength training with manual therapy at more than 20 outpatient facilities across southeast and south central Michigan.
Anti-inflammatory medication — Over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve can often help reduce hip pain from minor sprains and aid in initial recovery.
Hip Arthroscopy — With help from a tiny camera, fed into the hip through one or two small incisions, a hip arthroscopy allows surgeons to view, diagnose, and treat several hip injuries, including hip impingement and lateral tears.
Hip Replacement — Most hip replacements are performed to alleviate arthritis, but for athletes who’ve sustained serious hip trauma and/or broken bones, a replacement may be necessary.