Do you ever experience a sharp, shooting pain that starts in your hip and extends down to your leg and foot? This type of pain is known as radiating hip pain, and it can be quite debilitating, limiting your daily activities and impacting your quality of life.
What Causes Hip Pain That Radiates Down the Leg?
The hip joint is one of the largest ball and socket joints in the body and plays an essential role in supporting the body’s weight and allowing for movements such as walking, running, and jumping. The leg and foot contain a complex network of nerves, bones, and muscles that work together to support the body and allow mobility.
Hip pain that radiates down the leg to the foot can have several underlying causes. Here are six of the most common causes of radiating hip pain.
Sciatica is a condition that results from the compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the legs and feet. The compression of this nerve can cause sharp pain that radiates from the hip to the foot.
2. Hip bursitis
Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints and reduce friction between bones. Inflammation of these sacs, known as bursitis, can cause pain and swelling in the hip, which radiates down the leg. Female hip bursitis symptoms are similar to those of men with hip bursitis. It can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions causing back pain, including menstrual-related back pain. However, the pain is persistent and doesn’t come and go with hormone cycles.
3. Degenerative hip conditions
The gradual wear and tear of the hip joint can cause degenerative hip conditions such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. Wear and tear can lead to pain, stiffness, and radiating pain.
4. Hip fracture
A hip fracture can cause severe pain and difficulty walking. In some cases, the pain may radiate down the leg.
5. Muscle strain
A strain or tear in the hip and thigh muscles can cause pain and weakness in the hip, which can radiate down the leg into the foot.
6. Nerve impingement
Nerve impingement, such as femoral nerve entrapment, can cause radiating pain and weakness in the hip and thigh.
Signs and Symptoms of Radiating Hip Pain
The signs and symptoms of radiating hip pain can vary depending on the underlying cause, but they may include the following:
- Sharp, shooting pain that starts in the hip and spreads down the leg and foot
- Numbness or tingling in the leg or foot
- Leg or foot weakness
- Difficulty walking, running, or performing other physical activities
What Should I Do If I Have Radiating Hip Pain?
It is important to seek medical attention when experiencing radiating hip pain. Prompt treatment can help reduce the risk of complications and provide the best strategy to relieve your symptoms and get back to feeling your best.
A neurologist or physiatrist can perform a thorough examination and imaging tests to determine the underlying cause of your pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. They will typically perform a combination of tests and procedures to determine the underlying cause, including:
- A medical history review to determine conditions related to the pain, such as back problems, injury, or disease
- A physical examination to assess the affected area and determine the extent of pain and symptoms such as muscle weakness, tenderness, or loss of sensation
- Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, may be performed to visualize the bones, nerves, and soft tissues of the hip and leg. These tests can help to identify problems such as fractures, herniated discs, or nerve impingements
Based on the results of these tests, the doctor can diagnose the underlying cause of the radiating hip pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. The plan may include pain relievers, physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, or surgery, depending on the severity and cause of the pain.
Take Control of Your Pain
If you are experiencing radiating hip pain, schedule an appointment today and get back to feeling your best!