Hip Pain - Superior Physical Therapy

Hip Pain

Unlock Hip Pain Fast with Easy and Proven Exercises

When we have pain in our hips, we can lose sleep, stop performing well on the job, and lose out on doing the things we enjoy. But there is hope. There are some simple things we can do to relief hip pain without medications, injections or surgery.

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Common Types or Diagnoses of Hip Pain

First, let’s talk about the three most common types of hip pain. The number one most common type, or most popular diagnosis, of hip pain is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is diagnosed using an x-ray. The radiologist is measuring the joint space between the head of the femur and the socket of the pelvis. If the x-ray shows a narrowing of the space between the two, a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is usually made. The number two most common type or diagnosis of hip pain is called hip bursitis. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs located throughout our entire body. They lie underneath the tendons and are designed to lubricate the tendon so when the tendon moves, it doesn’t rub on the bone and fray. If there is too much motion in the tendon, or it’s placing to much pressure on the bursa, the bursa starts to get inflamed. This inflammation is called bursitis. The hallmark symptom of hip bursitis is pain in my hip when laying on one’s side. Hip bursitis is very common, yet undetectable on an x-ray. There’s an easy self-test you can do to see if you do have bursitis. Stand up and push on the side of your hip. If you can find a sore spot that is hip bursitis. If your hip pain is due to something in the joint, and not bursitis, you won’t feel extra pain just by pushing on the hip. The third most common type of hip pain is called a labral tear. A cartilage ring runs around the hip socket called the labrum. The labrum is designed to help the head of the femur move more smoothly within the hip socket. It adds stability to the hip joint, which is essential because a lot of force goes through the hip. If too much force is applied to the hip, the labrum can tear. This tear can be seen on an MRI. Studies indicate that 69% of people over the age of 60 who have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis or labral tear in the hip also have no pain. So these diagnoses do not mean that osteoarthritis or a labral tear are actually the cause of the hip pain you are now experiencing. A trained professional, like the Doctors of Physical Therapy at Superior Physical Therapy in Traverse City, MI can properly diagnose and treat your hip pain without medications, injections and surgery.

Causes of Hip Pain

There are three big areas of the body that can contribute to stress in the hip, and can cause hip pain. These areas might surprise you, but they can cause the soft tissues in the hip (ligaments and tendons) to become stressed from excessive movement and friction. The number one problem area and most common cause of hip pain is, actually, the hips, which may seem strange. But if the muscles around the hip get tight, and there are a lot of muscles around the hip, they can compress the hip joint and cause an x-ray to show joint space narrowing, just as it does in osteoarthritis. This compression of the hip joint causes pain and limits mobility even further. The number two most common area that causes hip pain, is the foot and ankle, which have a huge influence on how the hips are moving. In fact, you cannot move your foot and ankle, whether you are just standing on the ground or walking upright, without moving your hip. And vice versa, you can’t move your hip without motion occurring in your foot and ankle. When walking, your foot flattens out like a pancake. That motion grabs on to the lower leg bone and turns it inward about thirty degrees. This causes the hip to turn in thirty degrees as well. This is valuable motion and activates the hip and leg muscles properly. However, if there is excessive motion in the foot and ankle, this can cause the hip to turn more than it is designed to turn. When the hip is made to move it beyond its limit, there will be stress, overloading, and tissue damage in the hip joint, which can trigger inflammation and pain. The third most common area which can cause painful hips is found in your upper spine. How your upper torso is moving can have a big influence on how well the muscles of your lower body are being activated. When muscles lengthen, as they do when you move, they become strong and are able to do their work and move your body parts properly. When our upper body turns, as it does when we’re walking, our butt muscles lengthen, giving us the strength to turn the hip properly. Without good motion in the upper body, the hip muscles will be weak and unable to do their jobs well.

Easy Exercises

Here are some easy exercises you can do at home, to lengthen and strength your muscles, which can increase the space in your hip joint space and decreasing your pain. Exercise One
  1. Start out by standing in a comfortable stance with feet together.
  2. Keeping your right foot planted in place, step forward with the left leg, then step back.
  3. Repeat the whole motion 10 to 15 times, then repeat with the other leg.
Exercise Two
  1. Start out by standing in a comfortable stance with feet together.
  2. Keeping your right foot planted in place, step to the side with the left foot then cross the left foot over right foot in a crossover motion. You might feel a little tension in the inner thigh when you step out and a little tension on the outer hip when you crossover.
  3. Repeat the whole motion 10 to 15 times, then repeat with the other leg.
Exercise Three
  1. Start out by standing in a comfortable stance with feet together.
  2. Keeping the right foot planted on the ground take your left foot and turning your hips rotate toward your right leg, across the body and step a little bit beyond your right foot. Then rotate back and step to the left side a little bit.
  3. Repeat the whole motion 10 to 15 times, then repeat with the other leg.
This will provide a nice easy glide in the hip joint. If your balance is challenged during this activity, place your hand against a wall or a doorway or hold on to a chair or use a cane. Do whatever you need to do to be safe. Repeat these every day and you will increase your hip mobility, open up the hip joint space, and decrease your pain. Not all physical therapy is equal. You need someone who is trained with the ability to see the entire body as a whole. Someone who can recognize that the site of your pain is not always the source of your pain. Someone who appreciates how the hips affect the spine, how the feet affect the hips, or how the upper back affects the neck and shoulders. You need an expert who is trained in chain-reaction bio-mechanics. Someone who will focus on your unique body and issues. The Doctors of Physical Therapy at Superior Physical Therapy in Traverse City, MI want to empower and educate you so that you can take control of your situation and find long-lasting pain relief! Call us, attend one of our free workshops, or visit our various platforms for the life-changing information we provide.

Are You Suffering with Hip Pain?

Do you live in Traverse City, or northern Michigan, and have any of the following:

  • Difficulty walking or standing for long periods?
  • A diagnosis of arthritis in the hip?
  • Been told that a hip replacement is the only option?
  • Tried medication and injections to relieve your hip pain but it only lasted a few days or weeks?
  • Been told you have hip bursitis?
  • Is it uncomfortable for you to lay on your side?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are in the right place.  We can help.  We are hip pain specialists who have helped thousands in Traverse City and all over northern Michigan relieve their hip pain.

We are different… we are Superior.  We are specifically trained to understand the scientific relationship between your hips and the rest of your body. We can assess what is actually causing your hip pain, and we can treat it successfully.

You can be pain-free once again!

Most health care providers are limited in what they can offer to treat hip pain, which include medications and injections.  These treatments only mask the pain.  They do not get to the source of the problem.

Surgery isn’t the go-to answer either. We are seeing a sky rocketing increase in hip replacement surgeries (150% increase in 10 years) – many of them totally unnecessary.  We hear more and more surgeons in Traverse City use words such as “bone on bone” (which scares patients into thinking there is no other option) to describe what we know is natural arthritis.

Arthritis does NOT Usually Cause Pain

Natural arthritis? Yes.  New research indicates that 80% of people who have hip arthritis are PAIN FREE.  Arthritis in your hip is not usually the cause of your hip pain! And hip arthritis is certainly not a reason to go straight to hip replacement surgery.


Scientific Studies indicate arthritis is not a cause of pain in 80% of people.

The reality is that the hips are intimately connected to the rest of the body.  Areas such as your foot and ankle as well as your upper trunk region can have a huge influence on how your hips function.  A loss of mobility or strength in one muscle group can cause strain and injury to the hip. When the problem area is properly diagnosed and mobility is restored, complete pain relief follows, without high-risk treatments such as surgery or injections.

Hip bursitis, when treated correctly, is one of the easiest pain conditions to relieve.

On the other hand, hip bursitis does cause hip pain. Thankfully hip bursitis, when treated correctly, is one of the easiest pain conditions to treat. The problem is that most providers focus on treating the bursa of the hip, itself, when the root problem is occurring in other muscle groups.  Bursitis is a result of increased friction on the lateral aspect of the hip.  This friction is increased because other parts of the hip have stopped moving properly.  Injections and medications will never eliminate hip bursitis.  Identifying the movement dysfunction is the key.

If you have hip pain, then you need to see one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy. We use the Superior Method, based upon the science of functional movement. We have two locations in Traverse City and take most insurances.

We can relieve your pain. Don’t give up. You’ve found your answer.  Call us at 231-944-6541, or attend one of our hip pain workshops, if you still want more info. To see if we have one coming up in the near future, visit our EVENTS page.

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