One of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints, the hip is where the thigh bone meets the pelvis to form a ball-and-socket joint.
Bands of tissue, called ligaments, connect the ball to the socket, stabilizing the hip and forming the joint capsule. The joint capsule is lined with a thin membrane called synovium, which produces a viscous fluid to lubricate the joint. Fluid-filled sacs called bursae provide cushioning where there is friction between muscle, tendons, and bones.
The hip is surrounded by large muscles that support the joint and enable movement.
The hip is prone to several types of injuries. Sometimes these happen in otherwise healthy joints – an automobile accident or fall breaks a bone or forces the femoral head out of its socket, for example. In other cases, joints compromised by congenital deformities or osteoporosis, for example, leave the hip vulnerable to injury upon the slightest trauma. The following are some of the more common hip injuries.
While you can’t prevent all hip problems, many of the same measures used to treat hip problems can reduce your risk or help prevent them from getting worse. Losing weight, for example, may help keep hip osteoarthritis from progressing and proper exercise may help reduce pain and injury risk.
Taking measures to prevent injuries and tending to them promptly when they happen can prevent problems both now and down the road.
If you experience an injury to your hip, rest, elevate it and apply ice. If the pain is severe or persists more than a day or two, call your doctor.