As the largest bones in your body, your pelvis carries most of your upper body weight. Your hips connect your pelvis to your legs, normally allowing a wide range of motion. When you start feeling pain, stiffness or inflammation in your hips, you must get a diagnosis from a medical professional.
Your physical therapist can run tests to determine what’s going on in your hips and provide treatment that provides pain relief and corrective measures. Physical therapy for your hips actually addresses many different types of hip conditions, both injuries and diseases.
The ball and socket joints that comprise your hips are the largest in your body. They’re involved in your ability to walk, run, stand, climb and twist. Their proximity to your lower back makes it hard to determine whether any hip pain comes directly from a hip condition or from referred pain.
Your physical therapist tests your hips and figures out how best to support this large weight-bearing joint. Repetitive motion, arthritis, injury and strain, or surgeries such as hip replacement all benefit from a thorough round of PT treatments.
Symptoms of Hip Pain Requiring Assessment and Treatment
The ball of your thigh bone rests inside the cup-shaped socket of your pelvic bone, providing extensive range of motion and stability. The joint is supported by a complex array of muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. When any part of your hip wears down due to injury, repetitive motion, bone tumors or some form of arthritis, it threatens your entire joint.
Symptoms to monitor include:
- Pain, discomfort and stiffness when walking up or down stairs, which may signal a hip labral tear
- Deep pain in your hips that may begin as mild or intermittent, but increases over time
- Restless, uncomfortable nights because the pain keeps you awake
- Lack of relief from over-the-counter pain relievers
- A noticeable and distinct limp, maybe even because one leg is longer than the other, which is a common symptom of hip dysplasia
- Aversion to walking, running or climbing because of the pain
- Trouble standing from a seated position because of stiffness, pain or inflexibility, which may mean you have hip arthritis
- Catching, snapping, locking or popping sensations in your hip joint
- Swelling, pain and tenderness, which are symptoms of hip bursitis
The PT Procedure
Your physical therapist at Tri PT practice Brooklyn first assesses your hip through a variety of means, including:
- Measuring the strength of your joint
- Looking for palpitations
- Performing range of motion exercises
The next step is to tailor a plan of treatment designed to relieve or eliminate your specific hip pain. By reestablishing your proper posture and movement techniques, you can regain the range of motion and strength you enjoyed before your symptoms began. Your treatments may include:
- Passive treatments, such as heat or ice to ease inflammation and encourage blood flow
- Exercises to improve your flexibility and strength
- A home exercise program to continue your recovery and treatment on a daily basis
- Assistive devices such as chair lifts, canes or walkers
- Cushioning or pillows for seating and sleeping, as needed
Physical Therapy Treatments for Hip Pain
Through massage, range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises and other specialized therapy modalities, our Brooklyn physical therapy center works to relieve or even completely eliminate your pain while increasing your strength and flexibility. Treatments may take the following forms:
- Heat before exercise or manipulation and ice afterward
- Shockwave therapy
- Spinal and joint manipulation
- Cupping therapy
- Laser therapy
- Functional exercise training with elastic bands and exercise balls
- Active release therapy
- Trigger point therapy
- Myofascial pain treatment
- Spinal decompression
- Strengthening hip muscles for support and balance
- Manual manipulation
- Yoga-like exercises
The Goals of Physical Therapy Hip Exercises
Gentle hip movement and stretching help to lubricate the hip joint while nourishing the surfaces of the joint. Physical therapy exercises help maintain or enhance your range of motion in your hip flexors. The good news is that as little as ten minutes of stretching a day can make a huge difference in your mobility, flexibility and pain reduction.
Your physical therapist combines the most effective forms of medication, passive and active treatments, and education to get you back on the road to the life and activities you enjoy most.
As appropriate, lifestyle modifications — such as wearing proper footwear to support and strengthen your hip — are recommended to help. If you’ve had surgery and you’re still suffering with hip pain, check with your doctor about physical therapy techniques to rehabilitate your hip. Contact TRI PT to get out of pain today.