Hip Conditions FAQs
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that joins the ball of the thigh bone (femur) to the socket of the pelvis (acetabulum). This joint is lined by cartilage known as the acetabular labrum that cushions the socket. Because the hip is a weight-bearing joint, it is subject to a number of ailments, such as strains and fractures, resulting from overuse, accidents and arthritic changes.
A: Bursitis is the painful swelling of the bursae, the fluid filled sacs that cushion the areas where tendons and muscles slide across bone. In trochanteric, or hip, bursitis, the bursa at the head of the femur is affected. When this shock-absorbing sac becomes inflamed, the condition is very painful. Trochanteric bursitis may occur as a result of gluteal tendon infections, uneven leg length or iliotibial band syndrome.
A: Arthritis is an erosion of cartilage, the tissue which normally cushions the joint. Arthritis is degenerative, leading to inflammation that results in pain and swelling. It usually occurs as a result of aging, but may also be the result of traumatic injury or autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis. In severe cases, arthritis can cause bone deformity and serious disability.
A: Osteoporosis is a disorder in which the bone density of the hip decreases. The degeneration of osteoporosis leads to increasingly porous bones that become abnormally weak and can break easily. A milder form of this condition is known as osteopenia.
A: Avascular necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, is a disorder in which the bone tissue dies because it does not receive enough blood. Necrosis results in small breaks that can eventually cause the bone to collapse entirely. It most commonly occurs in the hip. Necrosis may occur as a result of a fracture or dislocation, excessive alcohol use, extended use of corticosteroids, or certain diseases such as sickle cell anemia, diabetes, lupus or HIV. Medications taken for osteoporosis or bone cancer, and radiation therapy also increase the risk of a patient developing avascular necrosis.
A: A hip pointer is a bruise on the iliac crest of the hip bone, usually caused by a strong physical blow as may result from contact sports. This injury can cause bleeding of the hip abductor muscles, making leg movement painful. In most cases, the condition resolves in 4 to 6 weeks.
A: Hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), refers to malformation of the hip joint resulting in misalignment. It can occur because of a problem within the ball (femoral head), the socket (acetabulum) or in both components of the joint. It is most commonly congenital or develops in the first few years of life. If diagnosed at birth or shortly thereafter, dysplasia can be successfully treated with bracing devices. When discovered later in life, the condition often requires surgery.
A: Snapping hip syndrome, or “dancer’s hip” is a condition commonly affecting athletes and dancers. It involves a snapping sensation, often accompanied by a popping sound during movement. The snapping sensation occurs as a muscle or tendon in the area moves over a bony structure, most commonly the large jutting bone of the thigh (trochanter). Less frequently, snapping hip syndrome can be the result of torn cartilage or bone in the hip joint, known as a labral tear. While for some the condition is painless, for others, particularly those who are extremely active, it may lead to pain, weakness and disability.
An ultrasound of the hip provides detailed images of the inner structures of the hip in a minimally-invasive manner. It enables physicians to accurately diagnose a wide range of conditions affecting the hip, ensuring you receive the treatment you need to live a pain-free life. No special preparations are necessary before undergoing a hip ultrasound.
The Hip Ultrasound Procedure
Both hips are usually examined during a hip ultrasound, which takes about half an hour to perform. During the examination, the patient lies down on an examination table. The technician will apply warm gel to a transducer and place it onto the hip; the transducer is a small handpiece that captures images of the areas being studied. After the hip ultrasound, the patient can resume day-to-day activities immediately.
A radiologist will analyze the images obtained and create a detailed report of the findings. The doctor will receive these results and discuss them with the patient. In the event of abnormal results, the doctor will discuss the next steps towards treatment. Hip ultrasound is a safe examination and does not expose patients to radiation.