Does this sound familiar?
These can be signs of hip bursitis, which is an inflammatory condition that can be a very common cause of hip pain.
What is Bursitis?
Bursitis is the name of a condition where the bursa in your joints become inflamed. Bursa are the fluid-filled sacs that help cushion joints and reduce friction as the joint moves. Healthy bursa are important in pain free movement.
When the bursa becomes inflamed it swells and becomes highly sensitive. The joint doesn't move easily, and the muscles surrounding it can become painful and tight trying to protect the joint.
Bursitis can cause acute pain that increases with physical activity. If the inflammation remains active for a long time, the pain can progress to a chronic state.
What causes hip bursitis?
The most common causes of bursitis are things like overuse or strain on the hip joint. This can happen through a high level of exercise or activity, or through repetitive unbalanced activities like holding a baby on one hip, or leaning your weight to one side to avoid pain in other areas like your lower back, knee or ankle.
Other causes can be less common things like infection or gout within the joint. People with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can be more vulnerable to developing this inflammatory condition.
How can we help?
Remedial massage and myotherapy can help relieve painful symptoms of hip bursitis. We can reduce muscle tension around the hip joint, and assess the other areas above and below the painful hip so that we can address any issues that are contributing to your bursa becoming irritated. Taping for stability and support can be very useful, and can help relieve pain for longer. We can give you a program of exercises to gradually strengthen your hip without increasing the irritation.
Book a time with us to get the ball rolling.
Should I see a doctor?
If your hip pain has been ongoing for quite some time, it can be a good idea to check in with your doctor.
Your GP can advise you if a course of anti inflammatory medication will be helpful for you, or you can ask your pharmacist for an over the counter recommendation for symptom relief.
We're lucky to be located inside Together Medical Family Practice in Knoxfield, where you can get access to a fully Bulk Billed GP in the clinic with us and an understanding pharmacy team downstairs.
If you have joint pain, chances are that hydrotherapy is going to be a huge help to you.
A hydrotherapy pool is a warm water pool for doing exercises. Its quite different from swimming laps, although a lot of people find that swimming can be helpful too, if its not painful to do it. Can’t swim? It doesn’t matter, a hydrotherapy pool is usually quite shallow, it usually doesn’t have a “deep end” where you can’t touch the bottom.
Our local hydrotherapy pool is at Knox Leisureworks in Boronia. The centre has a lot to offer, actually. There is the hydrotherapy pool, as well as a kids pool, a regular lap pool, a spa and sauna, and an onsite gym.
So why is Hydrotherapy such a great option?
Buoyancy – Being in the water takes the pressure off the joint due to the water supporting your body weight. This makes it a great option for weight bearing joints like hips, knees and ankles, especially following injuries or surgeries like hip and knee replacements or fractured bones.
Warmth – Heated hydrotherapy pools allow muscles to stay warm and relaxed while exercising. Typically a hydrotherapy pool is heated to about 33*, warmer than a normal swimming pool.
Low Impact – Unlike running, doing exercises in water is friendly on vulnerable joints. The water doesn’t allow you to move as fast as in air, so the force of impact is less than running or jogging on a hard surface.
Resistance – The water provides great resistance for strengthening the body, without feeling painful. It can be tiring afterwards due to the resistance of the water, though, so starting with short sessions is best.
Low Cost – Knox Leisureworks has a great hydrotherapy pool. You can access the hydro pool with your standard pool entry fee of around $8, or if you plan to go frequently they have multi visit passes or memberships.
What kinds of pains or conditions does it work well for?
Hydrotherapy is fantastic for helping with pain in big joints and weight bearing joints, like hips, knees and ankles. Lower back pain can respond very well to hydrotherapy because of the way the water helps take pressure off the spine and support the weight of the body while you move. It can also be great for things like arthritis, and rehabilitation after a fracture or surgical repair.
It can be great for general fitness, too!
How do you get started?
Initially just walking through the water can be really helpful. You can also include day to day movements like bending and straightening your knee or hip while standing with you back against the pool wall for support. You can use a floating board or pool noodle to hold onto and do gentle squats or lunges.
If you’re uncertain, talk to us about specific pool exercises at your next appointment and we can help create a program tailored for you.
An aching hip can throw off your whole day. You might have slept on a funny angle, or it might be an old injury flaring up. Whatever the cause, hip pain can leave you limping and uncomfortable throughout the day.
Any hip pain that lasts more than a couple of days needs to be assessed by a qualified myotherapist. But if you can’t get in for a massage and myotherapy treatment straight away, here are some tips to ease your sore hips.
Gentle exercise and movement
Even when you’re sore, even a little bit of movement is often a good idea. By moving your body, you can encourage blood flow to repair any damage and improve mobility.
But when it comes to a sore hip, moving without pain can be tricky. That’s why I recommend non-weight bearing exercise in a pool or lying down. Start gently by circling your leg and hip within a range that isn’t too painful. This can improve the mobility of the hip and decrease the pain sensitivity.
As a myotherapist, I can not only assess and treat your pain. I can also recommend specific exercises and movements to rehabilitate the joint.
Another gentle form of movement is yin yoga. Unlike other forms of yoga, yin is very slow and involves more gentle, restful postures. Yin yoga uses different props so that you can hold poses within a comfortable range of movement for your body.
If your hip pain is quite strong right now, you may find a class to be too much until after you've had some treatment. But if your pain is a recurring issue then a regular yoga class as a way to manage your pain and prevent flare ups is a fantastic option.
I love Ananda Yoga in Belgrave. You’ll often find me at Kerry’s Yin Yoga classes on Tuesday and Sunday morning. Kerry is the absolute best! Her classes are all about moving in a way that feels good and a lot of her classes use things like spiky massage balls to help you release tight muscles yourself. You can check out their website here.
Creams and gels can provide temporary relief of pain, even for deep pains that come with a sore hip. There are plenty of good options on the market. My favourites are:
Every injury is different. But many people find that using heat for muscular pain brings more relief – and is more comfortable – than ice.
So chuck on a heat pack if you have one, or pick one up at the clinic. Or jump into a hot shower and do some gentle stretches, moving your body slowly through any ‘good pain’ spots.
If you can, slide into a nice warm bath with a book and a cup of tea. As a bonus, add some Epsom salts – they are incredibly relaxing and are a source of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Which suggestion you take does depend on the injury and your pain levels. If your hip is aching, tight and generally sore, you could probably use any of these, or all of them! But if your hip pain is sharp and significantly reducing your mobility, your best bet is to use topical treatments, and book in to see a practitioner, stat.
Has your hip pain been getting you down? I offer sessions throughout the week, including evenings and Saturdays, so that you don’t have to suffer through the pain. To book in an appointment, click here.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.