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The truth about hip pain ... and how to avoid it (and an emotional message from Andy Murray !)

This week we witnessed the conclusion of the first Tennis Grand Slam of the year. The 2019 Australian Open will be remembered in the UK for Andy Murray’s emotional torment as he announced his possible retirement from tennis. It appears that Andy has been plagued by a worsening hip problem, and the pain is limiting his mobility - essential to compete at an elite level.

If you have hip pain you can contact us here. The hip is a ball and socket joint, which basically means that you have a ball-shaped surface of a rounded bone that fits into the cup-like depression of another bone. In the case of the hip, the head of the femur (thigh bone) is the ball and it fits into the cup-like depression (acetabulum) of the pelvis. This type of joint means that it is capable of motion around an indefinite number of axes giving it the highest freedom of motion in the body.

The hip is somewhat less mobile than the shoulder (also ball & socket), but is an overall stronger and more stable joint. The added stability of the hip joint is necessary to bear the weight of the body resting on the legs while performing actions such as standing, walking and running. Many tough ligaments and the powerful hip muscles hold the head of the femur in place and resist some of the most powerful strains in the body.

The most common injuries in the hip are hip osteoarthritis, lateral hip pain (gluteal tendinopathy or burstis), hip (femeroacetabular) impingement and muscular thigh strains (hamstrings or quads). These injuries are often minor and can be managed using the principles of POLICE (protection, optimum loading, ice, compression, elevation) or with guidance from a health practitioner such as a physiotherapist or osteopath. Occasionally more severe trauma can occur in the form of fractures or cartilage tears. If there has been a traumatic injury and there is an inability to weight bare, it is important to seek urgent medical assessment.

It is important to remember that wear and tear is a normal part of ageing, and often even with large amounts of deterioration on scans there may be no symptoms and the hip is fully functioning. Avoidance of physical activity or hip movement will not help and it is vital to move within limitations. Pain free clicking is nothing to worry about and is quite common, often it is tight tendons and ligaments flicking over the joints, or the release of nitrogen gas bubbles from the joints.

You can find some of our recommended Hip exercises to get you started Here .... PLEASE be sensible - if any of these hurt or cause pain - STOP do not pass go and call your local health care practitioner.

It is also important to look beyond the hip by assessing the sum of all body parts. In 2018 we discovered that the feet were causing a hip problem in an Ex-GB athlete who competed 3 times in the IAAF Championships. (yes that is 3 times!!) We utilised our in-house dynamic gait analysis footscan technology to design bespoke orthotics giving us the precision that was required. Here is what they said a few weeks into using their PHITS orthotics to correct foot motion.

”…So, I started wearing the orthotics for a short time each day, then went for my first run last Tuesday - just 2 miles. My hip didn't hurt, although towards the end there was a slight stiffness. However, the way I run now feels great. I feel like I'm running more on my toes & not landing so flat footed, especially on the left foot….”

It is best not to self diagnose and seek the expert knowledge of a medical professional. Book an appointment at Active Therapy Clinic and injury management will involve a combination of overall body assessment (just in case hip issues are coming from elsewhere), mobilising the joint(s), soft tissue massage, strengthening, dynamic balancing and progressive loading exercises.

If you have hip pain and want to get back to being you, whether that is playing tennis (like Andy, remember him from the video at the beginning?!) golf or just playing eith the grandchildren then Book an appointment by clicking here, or give us a call on 01285 643080

In the words of Tony Robbins " Results happen over time, not overnight. Work hard, stay consistent, and be patient".

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