Why Do My Hips Lock Up? --Causes
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February 20, 2017


By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist


Your hip joint is the largest weight-bearing joint in the body.
A healthy hip joint means healthy hips, and freedom of
movement. Sometimes, however, your hips don’t work as
smoothly as they could. Sometimes you feel your hips lock.
When you sit still for a long time and get up, or when you
walk, your hips just lock up.

It’s a common complaint – the sensation that something is
locking inside the hip joint, preventing you from walking
properly or from sitting down or getting up. What causes a
locked hip joint? Is it dangerous when your hips lock up?

How Does the Hip Joint Work?

The hip is a ball and socket joint with the thighbone acting
as the ball inside the cavity at the base of your pelvis that
acts as the socket. The hip joint is connected by ligaments
that support the ball and socket. The bones are cushioned
with cartilage, which allows them to move over each other
smoothly. There is also lubrication that allows for freedom of
movement through the hips.

You also have hip flexors, which are muscles located in the
abdomen, thighs, and back. These hip flexors allow the hip
to bend in the front. When you find your hips are locking,
you may have an injury to these hip flexor muscles.

What Causes the Hips to Lock?

The hip flexor muscles may be damaged or injured. You
could also lose your range of motion through the hip joints,
which contributes to a locked hip, through overuse or
through repetitive motions. Often, people damage the hip
flexors playing sport like soccer – a forceful kick or a fall may
damage the muscles.

Tight or damaged hip flexor muscles may result in a feeling
that your hips are locking up.

Hips locking up may also be caused by “snapping hip
syndrome”, a condition where you also hear a snapping
sound from the hip when you move, labral tears, and
problems with the SI joints.

Is There Treatment for Locking Hips?

Treatment depends on the cause of the locked hips, and can
include physical therapy, supplements, exercise, and rest.
Treatment for damaged or overused muscles in the hips
starts with rest so that the muscles begin to heal. Ice is also
useful for reducing inflammation and allowing the hip to
move properly again without locking. If hip locking has
occurred through sport, refraining from the sport for a time
will help to prevent further damage.

We looked at recent scientific literature to find out the Top 7  
remedies for the common complaint of hips locking.






























1.
Snapping Hip Syndrome Is a Cause of a Locked Hip

Snapping hip syndrome is often called "dancer’s hip"
because it is a common complaint in professional dancers
and other athletes.

With the condition you hear a snapping sound or feel a snap
when you walk, dance, run, or get up. It can also result in a
feeling like your hip is stuck or locked.

Snapping hip syndrome is the result of the movement of a
muscle or a tendon across the bones in the hip.

In many cases, according to a 2010 study from Boston
University, the complaint resolves itself or is unlinked with
other more serious symptoms. Other treatments include the
application of ice, painkillers, and reducing activity to enable
rest.

The researchers say “the majority of cases of snapping hip
resolve with conservative treatment, which includes
avoidance of aggravating activities, stretching, and anti-
inflammatory medication.”

2.
Treat SI Joint Pain to Stop Hips Locking

The two sacroiliac (SI) joints are located in your pelvis and
they connect the tailbone and the large pelvic bone. The SI
joints are not designed for much motion. They can become
stiff, and they often lock – particularly as you age.

Therefore, problems with the SI joints can cause the entire
hips to lock. Patients with SI joint trouble commonly receive
physical therapy to ease pain and maintain range of motion.
A locked joint responds best to stretching and mobilisation
to improve joint movement. But physical therapy does not
always work to improve locking hips.

A 2015 study from The George Washington University
School of Medicine & Health Sciences Department of Physical
Therapy, Washington looked at chronic SI joint dysfunction
in a 35-year-old woman whose hip and joint mobility
problems were treated with a combination of  “prolotherapy
injections, sacroiliac joint manipulation into nutation, pelvic
girdle belting, and specific stabilization exercises.”

3.
Locking Hips Can Be Caused by Labral Tears

The labrum is tissue lining the socket where the ball of the
femur rests. It provides cushioning for the joint and tears in
the “fabric” can result in a locking or catching in the hip
joint, as well as pain in the hip area and the groin. Athletes
are most at risk of labral tears.

The cause of a labral tear can include trauma caused by
sport or an accident, structural abnormalities in the hip joint,
or repetitive motions.

A 2009 study from Mount Sinai Hospital, New York says
labral tears can go undiagnosed for a long period of time.
When discovered, locking hips can be treated with rest and
anti-inflammatory drugs, or physical therapy although the
authors say this treatment is controversial. Sometimes
surgical treatment is necessary.

4.
Locking Hips and Dancers

When locking hips become a problem for athletes and
dancers, surgery is often recommended. But this tyoe of
surgery is not without its risks.

A 2011 study from the Hospital for Special Surgery identifies
the factors that predict the possibility of professional
dancers returning to their profession after having hip
arthroscopy surgery. Factors that predict the ability to return
to dancing include older age and having hip abnormalities as
negative factors.

Ballet dancers, according to the study, were significantly less
likely to be able to return to dancing than modern dancers.

The predictions can help dancers decide whether to have
surgery or go for a treatment like physical therapy, based on
a more accurate way of knowing whether their future career
will be affected.

The study looked at 31 female and nine male dancers with
hip problems like locking hips.

5.
Hip Implant After Women’s Locking Hips Can Result in
Failure


Sometimes, the problem with the hip joint that causes
locking hips is severe enough to warrant hip implants to
restore range of motion.

But a 2013 study from the Southern California Permanente
Medical Group, San Diego suggests that while the overall risk
of total hip implant failure is low, it is higher in women than
in men.

Here's the shocking truth the study found. Women who
undergo hip replacement or hip implant therapy are 29
percent more likely than men to need another surgery in
three years or less.

The authors looked at data for more than 35,000 procedures
performed at 46 hospitals. The need for more follow-up
investigation in women is highlighted by the researchers.

6.
Exercise Helps With a Locking Hip

Often when your hips lock is it not because the hip joint is
structurally unsound, but because it is stiff through lack of
use.

Exercising regularly is a great way to keep your hips from
locking up, particularly as you age.

A 2010 study from the Finnish Ministry of Education and the
Finnish Cultural Foundation shows that improving strength
and balance through exercise results in fewer hip problems
and helps to prevent of hip replacement surgery in older
women.

The study looked at 160 women split into a group that
exercised and those that did not, and followed over six
months. The women who exercised had better strength,
fewer hip fractures, and fewer hip problems.

7.
Osteoarthritis Can Cause Locking Hips

Hips that lock up can be a sign or
arthritis, although it is not
a common sign. In a 2011 study from the Royal College of
Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, researchers looked at four
research papers investigating the benefits of manual therapy
for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

The scientists found that some studies showed the benefits
of massage therapy, manipulation, and joint mobilization,
while others did not.  In one of the studies involving 68
people, massage therapy did improve range of motion in the
joint.  












































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