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How to Test the Cause of Your Hip Pain

September 17, 2021

Today we are going to shed some light on where your hip pain is coming from, show you a very quick 30 second self-test so you can check your hip function, and go over some of the common causes of hip pain. You might be surprised to know that a good physical therapy program can fix most hip pain issues.


The first most common issue that we see with patients is called hip bursitis. Typically pain is located on a lateral aspect (or outside) of the hip. It’s painful to the touch or when you lay on that side. In the image, blue circles identify the bursae. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs. When they become inflamed and irritated, they can cause pain. The most common bursa to become inflamed is the lateral trochanteric bursitis, but the others can be effected, including the sacroiliac joint (SI joint). SI joint bursitis is a hip condition, but often it can be confused with lower back pain.


There are simple movement tests we can do to determine the cause of hip pain:

  1. With your left foot planted, take a big step forward with the right leg, then step back. Perform this movement three times, if possible. Can you do this without significant pain?
  2. With the left foot planted, step backwards with the right leg, bend at the waist and lean forward, then return your right leg to the original position. Perform that movement three times, if possible. Can you do this without significant pain?
  3. Step to the right with your right foot, shifting your weight to the right, bending at the knee into a lunge position. Your left leg should remain straight and you should feel a stretch in it. Return to the original position. Perform this movement three times, if possible. Can you do this without significant pain?

Now try the same sequence of movements using the opposite leg. Are any of these movements painful or limited in motion? If so, your pain is most likely caused by limited mobility in the area of the hips.

This is actually good news! Proper physical therapy can fix your lack of mobility and relieve your hip pain without medications, surgery, or injections. The Doctors of physical therapy at Superior Physical Therapy are neuro-musculo-skeletal and hip pain specialists.

At Superior Physical Therapy we know that the body is designed to move in chain reactive nerve-bone-muscle-ligament groups. Are physical therapy is based on science and scientific theories of movement. We’ve helped thousands of patients get and stay pain-free. And we can help you. Call today 231-944-6541.


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