Knee and hip pain can be difficult to manage, and the connection between the two can often be overlooked. While they may not seem intertwined, research has found that there are strong correlations between hip and knee joints due to their close proximity. While hip and knee pain can be painful, remedies such as physical therapy can help to get your body back in a healthy condition. Here is how hip and knee pain could be related.
What Connects The Two?
The hip and knee are connected both structurally and functionally. A tendon known as the iliotibial band runs along the leg and connects muscles that run from the knee to the hip, Because of this, pain in one joint can often affect the other -- a phenomenon known as referred pain. Therefore, it is important to look at both joints when addressing hip and knee issues to achieve long-term relief for joint pain.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition that affects the joints and can cause pain in both the hip and knee. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the joint which reduces shock absorption when walking. This leads to increased wear on the joint, causing inflammation, stiffness, and pain. The hips and knees are especially susceptible to OA due to their weight-bearing role; this means that they need to take most of the stress from walking and other activities. As such, when one joint becomes affected with OA, it often spreads to other joints as well.
Additionally, due to the close proximity of these two joints, they can experience simultaneous symptoms. In order to best manage this type of pain, early detection is important; if caught before too much damage has been done osteoarthritis may be treated with a mixture of lifestyle changes such as physiotherapy or low-impact exercise as well as medical intervention including NSAIDs or corticosteroid injections.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons, and it can be responsible for both hip and knee pain. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones, and they play a critical role in helping maintain muscle balance during movement. When tendonitis occurs, the tendons become swollen or inflamed due to overuse, repetitive motions, or direct trauma. This can lead to pain in the affected area, as well as decreased range of motion. When tendonitis affects the hip joint, it can lead to referred pain in the knee joint; similarly, when tendonitis affects the knee joint, it can cause referred pain in the hip joint.
Treatment for tendonitis typically involves rest from activities that may have aggravated the condition, medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen to reduce swelling and pain, physical therapy to improve range of motion and strength in the affected area, and/or steroid injections for more severe cases. With proper treatment, tendonitis-related pain can usually be managed long-term.
Overuse is a common cause of both hip and knee pain, often due to too much or incorrect movement that puts excessive strain on the joints. This can be caused by activities such as running, jumping, and lifting, or simply due to bad posture when standing or sitting. Over time, this can cause swelling and inflammation of the joint resulting in pain and limited range of motion.
If left untreated these issues can worsen, leading to more chronic conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, and osteoarthritis. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any pain stemming from overuse as early intervention can help with healing and prevent further damage. Taking frequent breaks from physical activity that may be contributing to the overuse, stretching regularly, and avoiding certain activities may all help reduce the risk of injury or further complications related to knee and hip pain.
Hip and knee pain can often be related, and treating them both together may be necessary for a successful recovery. Treatment options for hip and knee pain connected to one another will vary depending on the cause of the pain.
Common treatments include
- Rest: Resting from activities that may have caused the pain initially or that put additional strain on the affected joint can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Medication: Medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Physical Therapy: improves range of motion and strength in the affected area.
- Bracing or Taping: This can help relieve pain and improve joint stability.
- Steroid Injections: Injections such as corticosteroids may be used for more severe cases of pain or inflammation.
- Surgery: In more extreme cases, knee or hip replacement surgery may be necessary. No matter the cause of knee and hip pain, it is important to seek medical attention.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary if the pain persists despite other treatments. It is important to consult with a medical professional to determine an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and ensure long-term relief of both hip and knee pain.
If you are struggling with knee and hip pain, contact our highly skilled team of orthopedic specialists at Jefferson Orthopedic Clinic or schedule an appointment directly from our website today!