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What causes hip and knee pain?

Rick Olderman
Physical Therapy

Most hip or knee pain can be distilled down to three problems: poor performance of the muscles in the back of the pelvis, overly tight muscles in the front of the pelvis, and poor movement habits that reinforce both these issues. Essentially, hip and knee pain have their roots in poor pelvic muscle performance. This includes pain from diagnoses such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, ITB-friction syndrome, sciatica, groin pain, SI joint dysfunction, patellofemoral syndrome, chronic hamstring strains, anterior knee pain syndrome, and more. These diagnoses describe the structures or tissues that are stressed. Therefore I call them structural diagnoses. These are things that may show up on magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) or X-rays or fall under headings such as syndromes if there isn’t an easy scapegoat to point to.

Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses

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Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses

Hip and knee pain are often a result of poor pelvic muscle performance in combination with poor walking habits. This combination creates tracking problems in the hip socket or excessive rotation at...
Akash Bajaj, MD
Anesthesiology

Finding the cause of knee and hip pain can be a difficult task. Your doctor will use information about your symptoms, examination, imaging studies and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. The knee joint is the connection between the thigh and the leg. Three bones come together at the knee joint, and the knee is surrounded by four major ligaments. The knee joint surface is covered by a layer of smooth cartilage, and shock-absorbing meniscus wedges sit between the bone ends at the knee joint.

Hip pain is a common problem, and it can be confusing because there are many causes. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the underlying problem. If you have hip pain, some common causes include: arthritis and bursitis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.