Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

Brief Introduction To Three Common Hip Disorders

The hip joint is the largest joint in the human body. As a result, it is prone to a number of different musculoskeletal disorders, many of which share the same symptoms or can be difficult to diagnose. Here are three common hip conditions that often require orthopedic care.

Snapping Hip Syndrome

"Snapping hip syndrome" is a condition in which a loud popping noise occurs when the hip's tendon snaps across the bone. Certain activities, like standing or walking, cause this tendon snap. Athletes--especially dancers--are especially at risk for this condition.

In most cases, this condition is little more than an annoying side effect of tight tendons. For these patients, extra stretching or physical therapy can address and treat this tendon tightness, which should decrease the popping. Even without extra attention, however, snapping hip syndrome is not likely to have a long-term effect on the patient's range of motion or ability to participate in athletic activities. 

For some patients, snapping hip syndrome is more serious. It can result in damaged cartilage or hip bursitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the hip's bursa sac. When snapping hip syndrome is painful, corticosteroid injections can reduce the swelling, and over-the-counter painkillers can reduce inflammation. 

Hip Dysplasia

When a patient's hip bones are misaligned, the joints rub against and chisel each other in a disorder called "hip dysplasia." Even though it can begin in young adults and even infants, hip dysplasia is seldom diagnosed until the patient's adult years. This is because the painful symptoms associated with hip dysplasia generally do not arise until the disorder progresses.

An orthopedic doctor diagnoses adult hip dysplasia through x-rays, MRAs, or CT scans. There are also screening tests available that can help doctors identify signs of hip dysplasia in children and babies. 

Adult symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping, hip and groin pain, and even popping. If left untreated, it can lead to debilitating arthritis and joint pain that will necessitate hip replacement surgery.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (or simply "Perthes disease") is a hip disorder that affects children. It occurs when blood flow to the child's hip joint is restricted, causing the bone to die.  

A child with Perthes disease will often limp and experience mild pain not only in the hip region, but also in other parts of the leg. The pain is often intermittent and changes location, so it is not always easy to identify symptoms.

Most children can make a full recovery after one or two years of medical attention, which might include surgery and physical therapy. Boys are more likely to suffer from Perthes disease than girls. 

If you suspect you may be suffering from any of these disorders, contact an orthopedic doctor like Jon B. Greenfield MD right away.