Hip and Knee Pain
Hip pain is a common complaint. The pain may not always be felt precisely over the hip joint and the cause for pain is often multifactorial. The exact position of your hip pain suggests the probable cause or underlying condition causing the pain. Pain felt in the groin area is more likely to be because of the problems within the hip joint. Pain felt on the outer side of your hip, upper thigh or buttocks may be a result of problems with the muscles, ligaments, tendons and soft tissues surrounding the hip joint. However, certain disease conditions affecting other parts of your body such as the lower back or knees can also cause hip pain.
Causes of hip pain include but are not limited to: Osteoarthritis, tendinopathy from overuse and overload, bursitis, sprains and strains. Your Sports Physician will perform a thorough evaluation based on your medical history, physical examination and diagnostic tests deemed necessary.
Whilst it may be necessary to modify your physical activities and certain activities of daily living in both the short and long term, it is important to remain active Your Sports Physician will be able to advise you on appropriate activities to maintain your strength and fitness without aggravating your symptoms. In the majority of cases, specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint will help improve your symptoms in the long term.
The knee is one of the largest joints in the body, formed by the lower end of the femur, upper end of the tibia and the patella or knee cap. Several ligaments and muscles attach to the bones of the knee joint to maintain normal motion of the joint. Special cartilaginous tissues known as menisci are placed between the two articular ends of the joint. These act as a cushion between the articular surfaces and absorb the shock during movement.
Knee pain is a common condition affecting individuals across all ages. It not only affects movement but also impacts the quality of life of the individual. Sometimes knee pain may be an indication of an injury to one of the structures in the knee, or it may reflect degenerative processes. In some cases, you may experience knee pain without any significant structural damage. A precise diagnosis of the underlying cause is important to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Some of the common causes for knee pain include:
- Osteoarthritis: a condition associated with inflammation of the joint
- Knee ligament injuries, including cruciate ligaments or collateral ligaments
- Torn meniscus
- Patellar or quadriceps tendinopathy
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Dislocated patella
- Baker's cyst: a fluid-filled swelling in the back of the knee which usually results from another problem such as a meniscus tear
- Knee bursitis: inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs located around the joint, usually between a tendon and bone.
Knee conditions should be evaluated by your Sports Physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Diagnostic imaging studies such as X-rays, MRI or CT scans may be requested. Blood tests may need to be performed and occasionally fluid is aspirated from the joint and sent for analysis.
Treatment options vary depending upon the underlying cause responsible for the pain. Some of the common treatment options for knee pain include: rest, ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, stretching, physical therapy and injections. In some cases you may be referred to an Orthopaedic surgeon.
In almost all cases you will need to perform some specific strengthening exercises to improve your knee pain and function. Your Sports Physician will advise you on which exercises to perform, which activities to modify and may recommend a period of supervised exercises under the care of a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.