The hips help you do so many things. And you probably don’t give them too much thought. Unless, that is, you have an ache, pain, twinge, or tweak. And then they may be all you think about.
How they work: The hip is made up of two bones: The thighbone, also called the femur, and the pelvis. The hip joint is where the rounded upper end of the thighbone meets the part of the pelvis called the acetabulum, and the two structures fit together like a ball and socket. Articular cartilage, a smooth protective liner, limits friction between the joint surfaces during movement, allowing the ball to rotate freely in the acetabulum so that you can rotate your leg forward, backward and sideways. This in turn allows you to walk, bend, squat, or even do an arabesque if you’re so inclined.
Several muscles, joints, and tendons attach to the hip bones and/or the joint. These help initiate and control the motion and decrease friction.
And while the hip joint is the largest ball-and-socket joint in your body, it’s not indestructible. It takes a lot of the impact of your bodyweight, so muscles and tendons can get weary from overworking, the cartilage can suffer wear and tear, and bones can even break after a fall or hard hit.
Not every ache or injury requires a trip to the doctor. If your pain is on the milder side – the it’s kind of annoying, but not debilitating kind, HSS physiatrist George Cyril, MD, suggests trying these at-home treatments first.
If you’ve tried these for a week and the pain doesn’t improve or gets worse, it’s time to see a professional. Additionally, if you see any of the following, see a doctor right away:
Several specialists can help.