Symptoms: Pain in the groin or down the front of the thigh as far as the knee may indicate a problem in the hip joint. Getting in or out of car, squatting or getting up from sitting may cause the pain to flare.

Causes: Hip joint problems include labral tears, arthritic changes, hip impingement syndrome, and hip capsular tightness. Labral tears arise either from traumatic injuries or repetitive use activities like in running, soccer or golf. Arthritic changes occur when prior trauma, genetic predisposition, or obesity cause early wear on the bony surfaces. Symptoms of this wear may appear as early as 50 years old. Hip impingement syndrome develops from too much friction when the hip joint ball rubs the femur against the socket. Hip capsular tightness often occurs as a secondary pathology to one of the above described conditions.

Relief: In most cases, physical therapy is the first line of treatment for hip joint problems, to help people avoid surgery. Range of motion and stretching exercises coupled with gentle joint distraction by hand can restore mobility. As movement improves, a progressive course of strengthening exercises will restore good muscle balance around the hip. Anti-inflammatory or steroid medication can assist this conservative treatment and either delay or eliminate the need for surgical intervention.