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Chiropractic care for hip pain and injuries

The hip joint is a crucial part of the way your body moves every day – it connects your legs to the trunk of your body, allows you to sit, bend and move and does a considerable part of the weightbearing work when you stand. Keeping your hips healthy is vital at all ages.

The hip is a ball and socket joint that connects your femur and pelvis and allows movement through three major, perpendicular axes (1). A key component of the joint is the labrum, which performs functions including shock absorption, joint lubrication, pressure distribution, and aiding in stability (2).

Like the shoulder joint, the hip relies on a careful balance between stability and mobility to keep you moving at your best and can benefit from chiropractic care when something goes wrong.

Common hip injuries

Hip injuries can be very painful, can have a serious impact on your quality of life and can have many causes. Some common injuries of the hips include:

  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Also known simply as hip impingement, this is increasingly identified in cases of hip pain among athletes, adolescents, and adults. Hip impingement injures the labrum and articular cartilage, and can lead to osteoarthritis of the hip if left untreated (3).

  • Labral tear. The labrum, as discussed above, is important for the function of your hip joint. Tears to it can cause hip, groin, or, less commonly, buttock pain. Labral tears often present alongside other conditions, such as FAI, hip hypermobility, dysplasia, and degeneration. They can be tricky to spot and can go undiagnosed without the right tests and checks (2,4).

  • Iliopsoas impingement. Known as ‘snapping hip syndrome’ this is a condition where you will feel or hear a snap or pop in your hip when you walk, stand up or swing your leg. It happens because a muscle or tendon is moving over bone in your hip. Although usually painless and harmless, it’s still worth having snapping hip checked out by an expert, because in some cases, it can lead to bursitis and swelling in the hip joint (5).

  • Bursitis. Speaking of bursitis, this is a condition that can affect the hip joint and cause considerable pain and discomfort. The bursa is the fluid filled sac in your hip joint (and other joints) that provides cushioning and reduces friction. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause hip and groin pain (6).

  • Muscle strain. Perhaps a little simpler than the injuries listed above, muscle strain is usually due to overuse. Muscle strain can cause discomfort and if left unaddressed or if the overuse becomes a habit, it can lead to weakening and instability of the hips.

  • Referral from lower back or pelvis. Other problems within the musculoskeletal system can lead to pain in your hips, as you compensate for the weakened area. Hips are particularly susceptible to referred pain from the surrounding areas of the lower back and pelvis. Lower back pain can also be a sign of some other conditions, such as Gluteus medius syndrome, which in turn is associated with conditions such as hip osteoarthritis (7), so it’s important to have any musculoskeletal pain checked out in full.

Remember, hip injuries aren’t just an issue for the elderly. Hip conditions most common among active adults include femoroacetabular impingement, hip instability and labral conditions such as tears (8).

How your chiropractor can help

Before you start to think about more invasive medical interventions, it’s worth consulting a chiropractor to see how any hip pain or injuries could be addressed through non-surgical treatment.

The main goal of treatment in hip injuries or conditions is to improve muscle flexibility and strength, potentially lower pain (9) and to prevent reoccurrence and protect the hip joint. Your chiropractor can help by:

  • Mobilising the joints as well as the adjacent joints. Manual manipulation of joints by an expert can help to maintain normal function after an injury, helping return you to normal movement quicker.

  • Releasing muscle tension. Excess stress or tension in the muscle around your hip and related areas, such as the knees and lower back, can prolong or increase pain from hip injuries. Your chiropractor can help to release tension through physical adjustments.

  • Rehab exercises to strengthen and reduce reinjury. Many common conditions, including snapping hip (6), labral tears (5) and hip impingment (4) may improve through exercises, stretches and physical therapy designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip. A chiropractor can help you put together an exercise plan that gets you back on track.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to make an appointment and see how we can assist you in managing your hip pain or injury.


1 M Gold, A Munjal, M Varacallo., Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Hip Joint, StatPearls Publishing, 2022

2 M Groh, J Herrera., A comprehensive review of hip labral tears, Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med, 2009

3 G Kuhlman, B Domb., Hip Impingement: Identifying and Treating a Common Cause of Hip Pain, American Family Physician, 2009

4 T Su, GX Chen, L Yang., Diagnosis and treatment of labral tear, Med Nexus, 2019

5 M J Alaia, Snapping hip, OrthoInfo, 2020

6 N Sheth, J Foran., Hip Bursitis, OrthoInfo, 2022

7 M Kameda, H Tanimae, A Kihara, F Matsumoto, Does low back pain or leg pain in gluteus medius syndrome contribute to lumbar degenerative disease and hip osteoarthritis and vice versa? A literature review, J Phys Ther Sci., 2020

8 MP Reiman, R Agricola, JL Kemp, et al., Consensus recommendations on the classification, definition and diagnostic criteria of hip-related pain in young and middle-aged active adults from the International Hip-related Pain Research Network, Zurich 2018, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2020

9 J Kemp, A Mosler, H Hart, M Bizzini, S Chang, M Scholes, A Semciw, K Crossley., Improving function in people with hip-related pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of physiotherapist-led interventions for hip-related pain, Br J Sports Med, 2020


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