Those Aching Hips

Hip pain bringing you to your knees, or giving you a pain in the bum?

Hip pain can be crippling when every step is sore or you look like an old dear getting out of a chair, but there is a solution. Pointing to where it hurts is easy enough but, getting to the bottom of exactly which structure is in trouble, takes skill. You’d think a quick MRI or CT scan would quickly deliver a diagnosis but the research tells us that scans are often not worth the money or the radiation.

Physiotherapists build a diagnostic picture of hip through a swathe of Special Tests that examine the hip joint itself, the ligaments around the hip, the sciatic and femoral nerves which hug the joint at the front and back, as well as the intricate balance of powerful muscles that support and move the hip. One Special Test alone, is not enough to put a picture of hip function together, but when several are cross-referenced, clarity emerges.

The Gluteals 

Made up of: gluteus maximus, medius and minimus

Brand new research into hip pain, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), has revealed valuable insights into the role of the gluteal muscles, and how their dysfunction can contribute to, and/or, cause debilitating hip pain.

The reason an MRI or CT scan has received such a bad rap in the research is that the report can often make for a very dramatic read, but many so called pathologies are nothing more than signs of a life well lived and often, have no bearing on what is causing the problem. The recent article from BJSM found that pain and the presence of gluteal tendon pathology, were very poorly correlated. Amazingly, 88% of pain free hips showed evidence of gluteal tendinopathy, which should be music to the ears, because it tells us that with a little help, gluteal tendons that are sore can become pain free even if they aren’t pretty on a scan.

The BJSM study confirms that a battery of tests, with or without a scan, is required to correctly rule in or rule out specific pathology at the hip.

The beauty of a physiotherapy assessment of the hip, is that when a thorough assessment is completed, treatment to correct the problem can begin immediately.

Working with GPs, scans can be ordered at any time, but often, a good response to the first few sessions, is enough to confirm the initial diagnosis, and the dollar saved on the scan can be diverted into moving better.

At Target Physio, we are always seeking new and ground breaking research, and applying it as part of our cutting-edge treatment. Target Physio subscribes to the mission statement – targeting pain and function, and enabling fitness, so that no pain or musculoskeletal problem keeps a person from obtaining optimal long-term health. This includes offering additional services, including individual and group Pilates sessions of all ages and abilities. No ifs and butts about it – getting rid of hip pain is achievable.    
  1. Back Squats
    Back Squats
    When thinking of gluteals and hips you just can't go past a classic. Effect at utilising the hip hinge movement, squats are a functional and allow strengthening of hip muscles in combination with other muscle groups in the body.
  2. Hip Thrusts
    Hip Thrusts
    Single or double leg, this exercise is effective in isolating the gluteals. Great for those who have trouble finding an exercise where they can actually feel their gluts work!
  3. Step Ups
    Step Ups
    When done correctly, the step up can be a simple yet effect exercise in using gluts in a large movement with other muscle groups. Another bonus - focusing on one leg at a time!