Hip and Knee Pain on One Side: How to Effectively Manage It

Written by Chris Bradley

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Various conditions can cause simultaneous knee and hip pain, and the discomfort can be interconnected. If you suffer from these pains, it can be challenging to manage, though there are several ways to make it easier.

So, what can cause hip and knee pain, and how do you treat it?

This blog explores the common reasons individuals suffer from pain in their knee and hip joints and how they can manage it effectively.

Common Causes of Hip and Knee Pain

Common Causes of Hip and Knee Pain

The hip and knee joints are functionally connected, and they have strong correlations because of their proximity. The iliotibial band is a tendon that joins the two and the muscles between them.

Due to the links between the hip and knee, you must assess both joints to find long-term relief if you suffer from pain. You may experience pain in one part of your body, for example, in your knee, that differs from its origin, i.e. your hip. This is known as referred pain. A professional can conduct an assessment and help you establish the best way to manage or treat your pain.

Some of the common causes of hip and knee pain include the following:

Osteoarthritis

This condition is commonly referred to as OA and is a degenerative disease primarily affecting the knees, hips and hands. Its onset comes from the breakdown of cartilage — a part of the body crucial for shock absorption and smooth bone interaction.

The various signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include stiffness, persistent pain, reduced flexibility, and inflammation due to the wear on joints from the lessened cartilage.

The hips and knees bear weight, so if pain and stiffness are felt in these areas, it may cause an individual to adjust how they stand and walk, putting pressure on other joints. This adjusted weight and pressure may lead to the spread of osteoarthritis to other parts of the body.

Recognising the signs early on is vital, as proactive measures can significantly influence the impact of this condition.

Sciatica

If someone has an issue with their sciatic nerve, it may result in sciatica. The nerve extends between the lower back and below the knee, and compression or injury to it can impact the following areas:

  • The back of the thigh
  • The hip
  • The leg, potentially including the knee
  • The lower back

Sciatic nerve pain can cause various sensations, including electric pain, pins and needles, and numbness. This condition can also cause motor/muscle changes, such as cramping, muscle spasms, weakness, and reduced muscle tone.

Flat Feet

Also known as pes planus, flat feet can cause pain in other areas of the body, including the hips and knees. Flat feet occur when the arches of the feet are unusually low, and it can cause discomfort between the feet and lower back.

The ramifications may extend beyond localised pain, encompassing alterations in gait and potentially increased susceptibility to accidents, such as sprained ankles.

Tendonitis

Inflammation of the tendons is called tendonitis. When an injury occurs, such as overuse, the tendons swell, and this inflammation not only induces pain and stiffness within the affected joint but also alters the individual’s movement patterns.

Tendonitis can cause the following symptoms:

  • Swelling that is sometimes accompanied by redness or heat
  • Moving the joint becomes challenging
  • A crackling or grating feeling when the tendon moves
  • The tendon becomes painful, which worsens with movement

Tendonitis in the knee or hip can cause referred pain in the other joint.

Muscle Overuse

Overusing your muscles can be a common cause of pain in the hip and knee, often stemming from incorrect movements that strain the joints.

Activities like running, jumping, lifting, or maintaining poor posture can contribute to this overuse and can cause various symptoms, including the following:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • A restricted range of motion

Untreated muscle overuse can lead to chronic conditions, including those in this blog.

How to Relieve Hip and Knee Pain

Hip Pain

Effectively addressing hip and knee pain on one side requires a comprehensive approach using various strategies tailored to the underlying conditions.

Temperature therapies, including hot and cold treatments, can relieve inflammation and soothe discomfort.

Rest can also help lessen inflammation, especially if the activity caused the initial pain.

Over-the-counter medication can assist in managing swelling and pain, though you should do this under professional guidance.

Equally crucial is incorporating appropriate supports, such as braces or orthopaedic footwear, to optimise joint alignment and minimise strain.

Other treatment options for knee and hip pain include the following:

Physiotherapy for Hip and Knee Pain

For conditions like sciatica, physiotherapy can help relieve pain in various ways, such as reducing muscle tension and reducing swelling.

A professional physiotherapist can deliver a detailed assessment to establish the best treatment plan for your pain.

Physiotherapy for hip and knee pain can include various treatments, including electrotherapy, manipulation and massage. This is not a comprehensive list of physiotherapy treatments available. Your physiotherapist may recommend other methods, such as knee supports, alongside physiotherapy.

Lifestyle changes

Several lifestyle changes can accompany physiotherapy sessions to help with pain treatment and management. These changes include the following:

Low-impact exercise

Various exercises, such as knee lifts and single hamstring stretches, can strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve joint mobility, helping to reduce pain. Pay attention to your body’s capabilities during these exercises, particularly regarding pain levels. If these exercises worsen your symptoms or cause new pain, stop.

Weight loss

Some hip and knee pain can result in surgery to replace the affected joint. However, individuals with a higher BMI can use weight loss to help reduce the likelihood of needing the surgery. It can also reduce the pressure on your joints and lessen inflammation.

Hip and knee pain together can have various causes, and finding the best treatment is crucial to managing that pain. After reading this blog, you should understand the different causes of hip and knee pain and the treatment methods you can use to manage it.

Here at bodytonic clinic, we offer personalised treatments to support you with various conditions, including those that result in hip and knee pain. Our full range of treatments is designed to address your individual needs so you can find the treatment plan that best suits you.