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Hip Conditions

Many conditions affect the hip joint and cause symptoms.

When one or more parts of the hip are damaged, the joint can become painful and movement is restricted. Commonly, pain is felt in the groin, but it can also be experienced down the inside of the leg, into the knee and sometimes down to the ankle. It can also be felt in the buttock, in the top of the thigh, and rarely in the back.

Hip pain is worsened upon walking or standing for long periods or putting on shoes and socks. Pain at night is relatively common in hip conditions.

In some cases patients experience a sensation that the hip is ‘catching’ or ‘snapping’ with particular movements. This often suggests damage to the labrum or even the articular (surface) cartilage. Often there is a history of previous trauma.

Limping is common with any painful condition of the hip.

This section concentrates on the following main conditions which affect the hip:

  • Arthritis
  • Avascular Necrosis
  • Cartilage Tears & Impingement

Information on each of these conditions can be obtained by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of this page.

The following basic hip anatomy provides a helpful reference for these pages.

Basic Hip Anatomy

Hip Anatomy (Click to Enlarge)

Hip Anatomy (Click to Enlarge)

1. Pelvis
2. Acetabulum
3. Femoral head
4. Femoral neck
5. Femur

The hip is a ball and socket joint. The femoral head (ball) is at the top of the femur (thighbone) and the acetabulum (socket) is part of the pelvis.

The surfaces of the femoral head and acetabulum are coated with articular cartilage, which is very smooth. The hip joint is lined by synovium, which produces a lubricating fluid.

Around the rim of the acetabulum is a lip made of a mixture of fibrous tissue and cartilage (fibrocartilage) that is triangular in cross-section; this is called the labrum.

The labrum serves to deepen the socket, improve the stability and seal the synovial fluid within the hip joint. The capsule of the hip joint joins the outer edge of the acetabulum with the femur and completes this seal.

Damaged Hip Anatomy (Click to Enlarge)

Damaged Hip Anatomy (Click to Enlarge)

The hip is a very stable joint that allows a great range of movement. Strong ligaments further stabilise the hip joint and more than twenty muscles around the hip provide movement.

All of these factors provide smooth, pain free movement of the hip joint.

1. Capsule
2. Labrum
3. Bone of floor of Acetabulum
4. Inflamed synovium
5. Eroded cartilage on femoral head
6. Femoral neck