How can you better manage your hip, groin or butt pain?
Do you suffer from hip, groin or buttock pain? If so, one of the key elements to treatment and management of your symptoms is reducing the load you are placing through this region – this means that you will need to reduce the time spent in positions that challenge these areas! Usually, the problem will be that you are bending too much at the hip or crossing your leg too often towards the opposite side. It is very important that you learn to identify when this is and understand how you can change the situation to avoid overloading your hip/buttock region. Have a look at the following guidelines and try to implement those appropriate to your issues. If you need further advice, book in with a Flex Physio who will be able to guide you with the best management for your circumstance.
It is common for those with hip, groin or butt pain to have problems with sitting or with suffering a catching pain as you stand from a seated position. Try the following to help reduce your symptoms:
- Avoid sitting in lower chairs - try to ensure that your hips are above your knees
- Try using a wedge cushion to lift your hips above your knees
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed or knees together
- Don't sit with your truck leaning forwards unnecessarily (e.g. slouching at the computer). Set up your workstation so that you can sit back in your chair.
- Sit-stand desks may also be helpful if long periods of sitting are problematic for you
Generally, the most aggravating position when sleeping is lying on your non-affected side with your affected hip bent high towards your chest and dropped across your body to lie on the bed. The following positions may be best to trial in order to help you sleep better:
- Lying on your back is the most non-aggravating position for your hip. Unfortunately, this position may cause other symptoms you may have to flare up – for example, low back issues. Try sleeping with a pillow under your knees to ensure less aggravation of your back pain.
- Lying on your affected side (so that the leg is out straight) with or without a pillow placed under your non-affected knee or abdomen.
- Lying on your non-affected side with your affected hip bent below hip height and knee dropped across to the bed BUT with your body rolled towards your stomach so that your affected hip is bent more to the side than across the body.
- If all else fails, you can try lying on your non-affected side with a pillow between your knees. If you find it difficult to keep the pillow in place, try a “body” pillow (a long pillow).
Avoid standing on your affected leg with the pelvis dropping towards the non-weightbearing and non-affected side (as when standing holding a child on your hip). This places undue stress through the hip and encourages poor activation of the supportive muscles. It is best to stand with your weight placed evenly between both feet whilst focussing on “standing up tall”.
When working in the garden or cleaning the house, kneel where possible rather than bending forwards from the hips. If kneeling is awkward or uncomfortable, you can try the following:
- If you have to bend forwards to complete a task, stand with your legs apart and foot turned slightly out.
- If your problems are only on one side, stand with that leg behind as you lean forwards to keep the hip as straight as possible (i.e. lunge forwards on the non-affected leg).
It is also important to look at the way you walk – if you overstride (take big steps), cross your feet across the midline or walk “heavily”, this can irritate your hip. It is best to take smaller steps with a wider stance whilst trying to keep your walking as soft or quiet as possible. It is often also necessary to try to keep to flat walking tracks as walking uphills and stairs can also aggravate your problems. Try placing your feet wider apart if you come across stairs or hills.
NIGHT ACHE AND/OR MORNING STIFFNESS
Fluctuating levels of aching at night and/or morning stiffness can indicate how much excessive load you have placed through your hip in the previous 24-48 hours. These symptoms are usually indicative of inflammation, and it is important that you monitor your activities so that you can limit the volume of inflammation in your joint to minimise further damage to the joint surfaces.