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Home > Health & Fitness > Healthwise > Hip Injuries, Age 12 and Older
A hip injury and pain can make it hard to
walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking
or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint (snapping hip) may
bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip is not painful, in many cases
the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment may be all that is
needed for minor hip symptoms.
To better understand hip injuries,
it may be helpful to know how the
hip works. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in
the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket
(acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the
shoulder joint but it does not move as freely. The hip joint is held together
by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint
capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint
and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in
the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
Injuries are a common cause of hip
problems. You may not remember a specific injury, especially if your symptoms
began slowly or during everyday activities.
Treatment for a hip injury depends on the location, type,
and severity of the injury as well as your age, general health, and activities
(such as work, sports, hobbies). Treatment may include first aid measures;
application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy;
medicines; or surgery.
Check your symptoms to
decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood
supply to the area. This can be serious.
There are other reasons
for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn
blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color
returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area
looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and
this change does not go away.
Symptoms of infection may
Pain in adults and older children
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
Shock is a life-threatening condition that may quickly occur
after a sudden illness or injury.
Symptoms of shock (most of which will be present) include:
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need
Call911or other emergency services now.
Put direct, steady pressure on the
wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
With severe bleeding, any of these may
With moderate bleeding, any of these may
With mild bleeding, any of these may be
Based on your answers, you need
Major trauma is any event that can
cause very serious injury, such as:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Home treatment may help relieve hip
pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Do not smoke. Smoking may delay healing because it interferes
with blood supply and tissue healing. For more information, see the topic
If you have a cast, see
cast care tips.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may prevent hip
Hip injuries can happen from falls. Do all you can to prevent falls.
If you live alone, you may want to get an emergency contact
bracelet or necklace. If you fall and can't get to the phone, you can press
the button on your bracelet or necklace. This calls
911 or an emergency number for you so that
help can be sent.
Warm up and stretch before exercising to prevent muscle strains and
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
July 29, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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