Hip pain and osteopathy

Chubbs wasn’t wrong when he told Happy Gilmore ‘it’s all in the hips’!

In my work as an osteopath, I often come across patients who aren’t too sure what classifies as hip pain nor how the hip joint links in with the rest of the body. I have a special interest in pain around the hip region as I have experienced this myself so I wanted to share a brief snap shot about hip pain with you! – Rachel (osteopath)


In this blog we’ll cover the following

  • fun facts about the hip
  • what is classified as ‘hip region pain’ and where you may feel discomfort when you have a hip injury
  • some of the most common hip conditions
  • how osteopathy may help you

FUN FACTS about the hip

  • The hip joint is the largest weight bearing joint within the body, yet also one of the most mobile.
  • It is made up of a ball and socket type joint, connecting the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvis (acetabulum).
  • There are over 17 muscles that act on and around the hip joint, four main ligaments and many other structures that help keep the hip stable and strong.
  • It plays a very important role in the mobility of our lower limb, stability of the pelvis and trunk, as well as the transfer of force between our upper body, trunk and lower limb (that’s a lot!!)
  • During running, our hip joint can take up to ten times our body weight.

What is classified as “hip pain”?

Hip region pain may be felt in a few different areas, the most common being the lateral part of our hip (the outside or ‘pocket area’), posterior glute (mid buttock) or anterior (the front). A hip injury can also produce pain elsewhere in the body. So, just because you are feeling the pain in one of the above areas, does not always mean that the injury is actually coming from that location! Confusing hey!?!

There are many reasons for this, but one of the most common is known as referral pain. Referred pain is ‘pain perceived at a location other than the site of the painful stimulus/origin’ and this is often related to the two areas having the same nerve supply and the brain getting a little mixed up about its origin.

Areas of the body that may refer to the hip:

  • The lower back
  • Structures within the hip joint
  • The muscles surrounding the hip
  • Visceral organs

Areas of the body that a hip injury may refer to:

  • Groin
  • Posterior glute
  • Lateral hip
  • Front, back and side of thigh

As you can see, the hip joint is not so simple after all!

Common hip injuries and complaints

Common hip complaints treated by osteopaths are:

  • Arthritis
    • Deterioration or loss of articular cartilage of the joint
  • Gluteal tendinopathy
    • this describes the changes that can occur in gluteus medius or minimus tendon
    • Often as a result of excess loads being applied to the tendon
  • Trochanteric bursitis
    • Inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac near a joint) at the outside point of the hip bone known as the greater trochanter.

The hip is a complex joint, working within a complex body! Rehabilitating an injured hip requires a lot of care and thought to find the balance between managing your pain levels and correctly loading the tissues around the joint to improve function.

Osteopathy and your hip pain

With so many factors involved in the hip joint, it’s important that you have the right diagnosis in order to receive the right treatment plan for your injury. As osteopaths, we are trained in detailed history taking and physical assessment in order to accurately diagnose and injury and help you become pain free and achieve your goals, whatever they may be!

If you have pain in or around the hip, seeing an osteopath is a great place to start to help you identify where the pain is coming from and what you can do about it! At Cranbourne Osteopathy, this is the type of care we strive to give. We make sure our approach is patient centred and aims to help you get back to where you want to be! If you think we might be able to help you then jump online to book an appointment or give us a call on 8790 0136.

I hope to see you in the clinic soon! Rachel – Osteopath at Cranbourne Osteopathy