Your hip is one of the largest joints in your body and one of the most mobile. It is also a joint that supports a lot of weight and stress during daily activities. When you move or lift something incorrectly, you can strain or tear the muscles in your hip. If this hip injury is not treated immediately, it can become more serious and require extended recovery.
If you have experienced a hip injury at some point in your life, you may wonder what you can do to help it heal. The right advice on how to treat a hip injury can mean the pain soon becomes nothing more than an unpleasant memory. Below is some helpful First Aid advice for treating a hip injury and easing the pain.
Good form is the best way to avoid a hip injury in the first place. It may sound obvious, but your body positions and choice of exercise can greatly affect the health and strength of your hips.
- Squatting: If you are exercising, you should be squatting with your feet pointing out, not your toes turned in. Doing so will make sure your knees are aligned with your toes. If your toes are turned in, your knees will be out of alignment, which can put pressure on your hips and lead to injury.
- Core Strength: The core muscles at the centre of your body are crucial for supporting your hips and lower back. You can try yoga, Pilates, and other core-focused activities if you want a strong core. There are beginner exercises that can help build core strength. You should note that core exercises should not be done while recovering from a hip injury, but should be started afterwards (or restarted if you were already doing them).
How To Know If You Have A Serious Hip Injury?
- You Have Ongoing Pain: If you have pain that does not go away after a few days, it is likely to be a more serious injury than you may initially have thought. If you have hip pain lasting more than a week, it is important to see your doctor to find out what is causing it and how to treat it.
- You Have Limited Mobility: If you have swelling and discomfort but can still move your hip around without significant pain, you may have a less serious injury which will likely heal with rest. If you have difficulty moving your hip around and putting weight on it, you may have a more serious injury that will take longer to heal.
- You Have Trouble Sleeping: If you have pain that keeps you up at night, you may have a serious injury that is causing your muscles to spasm. This can be treated with muscle relaxants, but it is important to see your doctor to find out what is causing the spasms.
- You Have Signs of an Infection: If your wound is taking longer than ten days to heal, you are having trouble moving around, or you have a fever, it can be a sign of an infection. Infections occur when bacteria get into an injury or wound, so it is important to keep any surface wounds clean and dressed, and see your doctor if you think you might have an infection.
What To Do For A Hip Injury: First Aid Advice?
If you suspect you have a hip injury, first call your doctor to see whether you need to have an appointment. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and depending on how serious your injury is, you may need medical treatment right away.
If your injury is not serious and you can wait a couple of days to see the doctor, then you can do a few things right away to help ease your pain and promote healing. These are general guidelines, and First Aid is best learned under a professional trainer. First Aid courses are available all over Australia, so checking your local area for one can be done simply enough. But general healing advice includes:
- Use Ice and Heat: If your hip is painful and swollen, applying an ice pack for about 20 minutes and then possibly a heating pad for about 30 minutes can help reduce the swelling and promote healing. In some circumstances, a heating pad may be more effective if your injury is more towards the front of your hip, where the muscles are located.
- Elevate the Injured Area: Another way to reduce swelling is to put your leg up on a pillow or a footstool. This will help reduce the amount of blood that flows toward the injured area.
- Rest the Injured Area: It is important to give your hip the rest it needs to heal. Avoid activities that cause you pain, and do so slowly and carefully whenever possible when you do move.
Exercises To Help With A Hip Injury
As with any injury, it is a good idea to consult a doctor to find out what exercises you should and should not do while recovering. If you do not have a specific doctor you see for your hip, it is a good idea to contact a physical therapist to get advice on what to do while you are still healing. These exercises can help speed up your recovery, reduce the chance of re-injury, and help you get back to your life without pain. Once you have healed, you can still continue with these exercises to prevent future injuries.
- Hip Strengthening Exercises: As your hip heals, it may become weak and less mobile. Strengthening exercises help improve your mobility and help reduce the chance of re-injuring your hip.
- Balance Exercises: As you recover, you should avoid walking with a cane or crutches and avoid using your hands to walk. This can put a lot of weight and pressure on your injured hip, making it take longer to heal. Balance exercises help improve your mobility while walking, which can help avoid complications.
- Core Strengthening Exercises: The muscles around your hips help support the weight you put on them, so it is important to strengthen them. These exercises are great for overall health and wellness, too.
What To Do Right Away For A Hip Injury?
- Rest The Injured Area: The first thing you should do when injuring your hip is to rest the injured area. If you are lucky enough to have the injury happen at home, you can use crutches to avoid putting weight on the injured leg. If it happens at work, you should try to find a place to sit or lie down and avoid standing for as long as possible. The best thing you can do for a hip injury is rest. Avoid doing any activities that cause pain, and try to find alternative ways to go about your daily chores.
- Apply Ice: Applying ice to the injured area can help reduce swelling and promote healing. It is important to keep the ice on the area for 20 minutes and then remove it for 30 minutes before reapplying it to the injured spot.
- Apply Compression: Applying compression to an injured area can help reduce swelling and speed up healing time. Compression wraps are available at any drugstore, and many doctors will give their patients these to help the healing process along.
- Use Anti-Inflammatory Medications: anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce swelling and pain from a hip injury. Your pharmacist can advise you on what medications may be helpful.
- Get A Physical Therapy Evaluation: A physical therapist can help you create a program specific to your injury and activity level. They can help reduce swelling, increase mobility, and improve your strength and stability to help you heal faster.
How To Recognise A Torn Muscle?
- Pain While Walking: If you have pain when walking or just standing, it could be that you have torn a muscle in your hip. This can be potentially be painful and limiting.
- Swelling: Swelling is often a sign of a serious injury, but it can also be a sign of a minor tear. If you have swelling and pain, you may have a muscle tear that is hampering the healing process.
- Shortness Of Breath: If you are walking with a limp or have trouble moving around due to pain, you may also find that you are experiencing shortness of breath. This could be a sign of a torn muscle in your leg, meaning your muscles are working overtime to compensate for the injury.
How To Recognise A Torn Tendon Or Ligament?
In most cases, a damaged tendon or ligament is not torn completely in two. Instead, it is stretched out and pulled away from the bone where it connects. This type of injury is called a strain and is treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation – often known as the R.I.C.E. method. If you have a torn tendon or ligament, you will likely feel pain on the outside of the joint where it connects to the bone. You may notice swelling, tenderness, and discomfort when walking or moving your hip. If you have a tendon or ligament injury, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Pain around the hip or groin becoming worse when standing or sitting for a long period of time, or when walking and performing other athletic activity.
- Having locking, clicking or catching sensation in the hip joint
- Having stiffness or limited range of movement in the hip joint
When you have a hip injury, it is important to rest and avoid activities that exacerbate the pain. You can also ease the pain by icing the area and compressing it with a bandage, as well as applying other First Aid techniques. If the injury or pain has lasted more than a few days, it is best to see a doctor. If you suspect a torn muscle, tendon or ligament, then you need to see a doctor immediately. If you are not sure what is the cause of your pain, make sure to visit your doctor to rule out any serious injuries.