This week is healthy hip week, and the focus is on hip dysplasia in children – a condition which affects approximately one in 50 babies yet isn’t particularly well known.
This blog post gives a quick overview of the hip joint and the issues which we see in our Cairns city physiotherapy practice.
The image above shows the bony structure of the hip, which is actually a very stable joint, as the ball (‘head of femur’) sits into a deep socket (‘acetabulum’). Within the joint is a cartilaginous cushion called the labrum. Important stabilising muscles of the hip include some of the gluteals, which help to pull the ball towards the back of the socket, relieving any ‘pinching’ or impingement.
It’s important to get hip pain assessed by a physio, as pain around the hip can be referred from the back or sacro-iliac joint, while problems within the hip joint itself can refer into the groin and bottom.
Those who had dysplasia as children are more pre-disposed to future problems like impingement and arthritis. Impingement can happen when there are abnormalities in the size or shape of the femoral head (ball) or acetabulum (socket), or even just as a result of poor postures such as sustained low sitting and poor muscle control. Some of these issues can lead to tears within the labrum, which surgeons are now repairing with keyhole surgery, or to future arthritis.
A physiotherapy assessment will identify the structures at fault within your hip and surrounding joints and muscles. Treatment may consist of mobilisations of stiff joints, taping/ acupuncture/ dry needling/ fascial release/ massage for pain and stretching, correction of bio-mechanical issues (for example, providing shoe inserts for problem feet) and provision of specific strength and stretching issues to help you. Some of the products which we stock at Wellness Embodied, such as spiky massage balls, foam rollers and wedge shaped cushions, may also be useful to help you to self-manage. Our You Tube Channel has a full playlist of videos containing self release techniques.
The important thing to know is that help is at hand and most people can improve pain and function long before needing to go down the surgical route. I’ve had really good results with clients with hip impingement and other issues like bursitis, arthritis, etc…. I’ve even had a little bit of impingement treated on my own hip when training for a marathon!
Written by Suzanne Rath, Wellness Embodied Cairns Practice Principal Physiotherapist.