Hip Injury

Hip Injury

Is this your symptom?

  • Injury to the hip or upper thigh

Some Basics...

  • There are many ways that people can injure their hips.
  • There are also many types of hip injuries. There are bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles in the hip. These can all be injured.
  • Treatment depends on the type of injury.

Types of Injuries

  • Abrasion: This is the medical term for scraped skin. This happens when an injury scrapes off the top layer of the skin. Pain is usually mild. This can usually be treated at home. Making certain the wound is clean is the most important thing.
  • Contusion: This is the medical term for bruise. It is caused by a direct blow to the skin and muscles. The skin is not broken and there is no cut. The bruised skin may first look red, then purple, and finally orange-yellow. These skin color changes are from blood that leaked from tiny torn blood vessels in the bruised area. The skin may also be swollen. Pain is usually mild to moderate. Bruises are tender to touch. Most often this can be treated at home. A cold pack can help reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Cut - Superficial: Superficial cuts (scratches) only go part of the way through the skin and rarely become infected. A scratch is an injury to the skin made by a sharp edge. For example, scratches can be caused by fingernails, a sharp nail, a piece of metal, or a branch of a tree or bush. A paper cut is a scratch from the edge of a piece of paper. This can usually be treated at home. Making certain the wound is clean is the most important thing.
  • Cut - Deep: Deep cuts (lacerations) go through the skin. A laceration is caused by cutting the skin with the sharp edge of an object. Lacerations longer than ½ inch (12 mm) usually need sutures (stitches).
  • Dislocation: This is when a bone comes out of the joint. The joint always looks crooked or deformed. The pain is severe. A person with a hip dislocation will not be able to walk. A doctor will treat this by putting the bone back into the joint socket.
  • Fracture: This is the medical term for a broken bone. It means the same thing as a break or crack in the bone. The pain is severe. A person with a hip fracture usually cannot walk. Surgery and hospital admission is almost always needed.
  • Sprain: A sprain is the medical term used when ligaments are torn or over-stretched. Ligaments are the bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. Pain and swelling can range from mild to severe. Minor sprains heal themselves with time and rest.
  • Strain: A strain is the medical term used when muscles are torn or over-stretched. A more common term for this is a "pulled muscle". These are common injuries from falling, heavy lifting, and sports. Strains may heal themselves with time and rest. Surgery is rarely needed for a muscle strain.

Pain Scale

  • None: No pain. Pain score is 0 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Mild: The pain does not keep you from work, school, or other normal activities. Pain score is 1-3 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Moderate: The pain keeps you from working or going to school. It wakes you up from sleep. Pain score is 4-7 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Severe: The pain is very bad. It may be worse than any pain you have had before. It keeps you from doing any normal activities. Pain score is 8-10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

When to Call for Hip Injury

Call 911 Now

  • Major bleeding (nonstop bleeding or spurting)
  • Hip looks crooked or deformed (like a dislocated joint or bad fracture)
  • Cannot stand, put weight on the injury, or walk
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Severe pain
  • Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
  • You think you have a serious injury
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Large swelling or bruise at the site of the injury (wider than 2 inches, 5 cm)
  • Limping when walking
  • Over 60 years old and pain lasts more than 24 hours
  • Have osteoporosis and pain lasts more than 24 hours
  • Take steroid medicine and pain lasts more than 24 hours
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Last tetanus shot was over 10 years ago, for CLEAN cut or scrape
  • Last tetanus shot was over 5 years ago, for DIRTY cut or scrape
  • Pain from injury keeps you from working or going to school
  • Pain from injury is not better after 3 days
  • Injury is still painful or swollen after 2 weeks
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Minor bruise
  • Minor strained (pulled) muscle or sprained (stretched) ligament

Care Advice for Minor Bruise, Sprain, or Strain

  1. What You Should Know:
    • There are many ways that people can injure their hips.
    • There are also many types of hip injuries. There are bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles in the hip. These can all be injured.
    • You can treat a minor bruise, sprain, or strain at home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Treatment of Bruise (direct blow to hip area):
    • Cold Pack: For pain or swelling, use a cold pack or ice wrapped in a wet cloth. Put it on the sore area for 20 minutes. Repeat 4 times on the first day, then as needed.
    • Heat Pack:
      • If pain lasts more than 2 days, apply heat to the sore area. Use a heat pack, heating pad, or warm wet washcloth. Do this for 10 minutes, then as needed.
      • For widespread stiffness, take a hot bath or hot shower instead. Move the sore area under the warm water.
    • Rest the injured part as much as you can for 48 hours.
  3. Treatment of Sprains and Strains of Hip and Upper Thigh:
    • FIRST AID: Put an ice pack on it to reduce bleeding, swelling, and pain. Wrap the ice pack in a moist towel.
    • REST the injured leg for 24 hours. You can then return to normal activity if it is not too painful.
    • Keep using crushed ICE packs for 10-20 minutes every hour for the first 4 hours. Then use ice for 10-20 minutes 4 times a day for the first 2 days.
    • Keep injured leg ELEVATED and at rest for 24 hours. Put your leg up on a pillow. Stay off your feet as much as you can.
  4. Pain Medicine:
    • You can take one of the following drugs if you have pain: acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve).
    • They are over-the-counter (OTC) pain drugs. You can buy them at the drugstore.
    • Use the lowest amount of a drug that makes your pain feel better.
    • Acetaminophen is safer than ibuprofen or naproxen in people over 65 years old.
    • Read the instructions and warnings on the package insert for all medicines you take.
  5. What to Expect: Pain and swelling most often get better 2 to 3 days after an injury. Swelling is most often gone in 7 days. Pain may take 2 weeks to go away.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pain becomes severe
    • Pain is not better after 3 days
    • Pain or swelling lasts more than 2 weeks
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 12/13/2017 1:32:18 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:08 PM

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Anatomy - Hip
Bruise on Thigh (1 Day Old)

This bruise is one day old.

Bruises (contusions) result from a direct blow or a crushing injury; there is bleeding into the skin from damaged blood vessels without an overlying cut or abrasion.