Hip pain after a car accident: Why you have it and what to do about it

Side-impact car crashes are some of the most common car accidents causing injuries. Some people walk away with no injuries, however, some have more long-lasting pain. Pain can be sharp or dull, sudden or gradual, and the severity can depend on the cause of the pain. Prompt medical attention can help you discover injuries after a car accident. At times, the adrenaline and endorphins can mask symptoms of injuries until after the fact. 

You have been in a car accident and are now suffering hip pain. There are several different injuries it could possibly be. Hip pain is pain in or around the hip joint or soft tissue and may be felt through the groin or thigh. Immediate medical attention is needed if your joint is deformed and/or swollen and you are having severe pain. Hips are crucial to the ability to move, and injury to the hip joint can be serious. 

Potential explanations for hip pain after a car accident

Your hip is made up of a ball and socket joint, the femur, and the pelvis. It allows the thigh to move in different directions and allows the hip to support the weight of your body. The hip joint has a capsule containing lubricating fluid around it and ligaments to keep the ball from slipping out of the socket. 

Medical professionals will typically look at the entire hip joint to determine the source of your hip pain. This testing can include a medical professional feeling your leg and hip to determine the exact location of the injury. They may also move your leg and hip in various positions and test your strength by having you resist leg movement. A few of the issues that a medical professional might find as they examine you include: 

  • Hip fractures —- A hip fracture occurs if the upper part of the femur is hit hard. It is very painful and may make you incapable of walking. The pain occurs suddenly and usually gets worse when you try to move your leg or put weight on it. A hip fracture is a serious medical emergency. It almost always requires surgical repair or replacement. It also requires long-term physical therapy. Hip fractures happen 3 times more often in women than men. 
  • Stress fractures — A stress fracture occurs when the weight load on the bone exceeds the ability to heal itself. It leads to a dull ache that increases when active and weight bearing. It can often be treated at home with ice and rest if the pain and swelling are not severe. 
  • Dislocation — A hip dislocation occurs when a blow to the joint causes the bones to shift from their usual position. It is common in vehicle accidents after the knee strikes the dashboard and the hip is pushed backward from the socket. It causes intense pain and swelling that inhibits movement. Rehabilitation to restore strength and mobility is necessary. 
  • Hip labral tear — A hip labral tear is a sudden and traumatic injury to the ring of cartilage (labrum) on the outside rim of the hip joint socket. The labrum acts like a rubber seal holding the hip ball in the joint securely. A labral tear can happen in conjunction with a hip dislocation. It can be difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed as a groin strain. A diagnosis takes a physical exam and consideration of symptoms. Imaging will be ordered and treated with nonsurgical options first. If it does not respond to nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be needed. 
  • Tendinitis — Tendinitis is inflammation and irritation of the tendons connecting the muscles to bones. Tendinitis can be very painful but often heals in a short time. 
  • Bursitis — The bursae are fluid-filled sacs around the joints surrounding the area where tendons, skin and muscle tissue meet bones. The lubrication they add helps reduce friction when the joint is in motion. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae causing pain and discomfort, limiting ways joints can move. Trochanteric bursitis can make it painful to lie on your hips. 

How physical therapy can help hip pain from a car accident

Those with hip pain from a car accident can benefit from physical therapy. A physical therapist can develop a plan that’s designed to help you return to pain-free activity, minimize pain while you’re healing, correct your movements, strengthen your hip and recover your range of motion. 

One type of PT that’s often used to address hip pain is manual therapy. Manual therapy is a hands-on treatment that targets problem areas. The soft tissue mobilization type of manual therapy allows your physical therapist to apply deep pressure to tissue around joints. By doing so, your therapist can help you improve flexibility and range of motion. 

Physical therapists can teach you as much as possible about your hip injury and a treatment plan to reduce your pain. Physical therapy for hip pain after an auto accident can also decrease the chance of future pain from auto accident-related hip injuries. This is possible because physical therapy movements pump oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the injury site and enhance healing. As a result, you can benefit from physical therapy even if the injury and hip pain from a car accident happened years ago. 

Explore how SSOR can help you with hip pain after your car accident

Do not delay if you are suffering hip pain from a car accident injury. We can build a personalized treatment plan for you using effective therapies. Specialists in Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation offers a free screening, which can be the first step toward determining the cause of your symptoms. 

Our physical therapy experts will also create a custom treatment plan for you based on your needs. Our team at SSOR can assist you on your road to recovery from hip pain caused by a car accident. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you or to schedule your initial appointment.