Imagine the freedom of effortlessly gliding through life, only to have it abruptly halted by a hip stress fracture.
This unfortunate reality plagues countless individuals, especially runners and those engaged in high-impact activities.
Understanding why hip fractures predominantly affect certain groups and recognising the signs of a fracture are crucial in developing effective prevention strategies, early intervention and treatment.
This article will explore the typical treatment plan for this condition and how North West Physio can be an invaluable ally in your recovery.
What is stress fracture of the hip?
Hip stress fractures are caused by repetitive loading and fatigue of the femoral neck.
The femoral neck is the area below the hip joint’s ball, and it is particularly concerning in hip stress fractures.
There are two types of femoral neck stress fractures:
Tension-type – involves the upper aspect of the hip neck.
Compression-type – involves the lower aspect of the hip neck.
Who do hip stress fractures mainly affect, and why?
Stress fractures are commonly found in individuals who engage in running, high-impact sports, or have low bone density due to eating disorders, osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency, or poor nutrition.
Runners and athletes participating in high-impact activities are particularly susceptible to stress fractures because of their intense training and limited rest periods.
On the other hand, individuals with poor bone density lack the strength in their femoral neck to withstand physical activity, leading to stress fractures.
However, even those without any of the mentioned risk factors can still experience a stress fracture if they rapidly increase their workload beyond what their bones can handle – For example, going from no running, to running long distances daily will most likely stress the bone over its current capacity.
Hip stress fracture symptoms
Signs of a hip stress fracture include:
- Deep groin and glute pain, radiating into the thigh and lower leg occasionally
- Swelling around the hip
- Tenderness around the hip
- Limp and pain with weight-bearing
- Pain increases with activity and movement
- Pain during the night
If any of these symptom’s manifest, it is advised by North West Physio to consult with one of our physiotherapists, who will guide you through a customised treatment strategy.
What are some effective ways to prevent stress fractures in the hip
There are several efficient methods to avoid stress fractures in the hip:
- Gradually build up to new activities and training loads
- Healthy diet that fuels your training load (more training, more food)
- Good running shoes
- Address biomechanical deficits (foot posture, muscle imbalances, weakness, inflexibility) as your physiotherapist assesses.
Stress fracture of hip: typical treatment plan for hip injuries
Typically, people with hip stress fractures are managed conservatively initially and placed on limited weight-bearing with crutches until pain-free (usually around 6 weeks). Simple hydrotherapy exercises and soft tissue release should be undertaken during this time.
Once there is evidence of fracture union, your physiotherapist will take you through lower limb strengthening and a gradual return to activity. Full activity return is normally accomplished 3-6 months after injury.
In some cases, conservative management is unsuccessful. For this low percentage of patients, orthopaedic review and possible surgery can occur. Following surgery, your physiotherapist will take you through the above management with the surgeon’s protocol.
From stride to struggle: overcoming a hip stress fracture
If you are currently dealing with a hip stress fracture or suspect that you may have one, do not hesitate to seek assistance from the dedicated team at North West Physio Eaton Hill. Contact us today and regain your freedom of movement.