Custom orthotics for hip pain can provide many benefits for patients with foot issues that extend upward
Research tells us that experiencing regular hip pain can lower a patient’s quality of life, especially if that patient is 55 years of age or older. Yet, the first step to effectively treating this type of pain is to figure out its cause.
Common causes of hip pain
The Mayo Clinic indicates that some of the most common causes of pain that exists in the hip area are:
- Arthritis, which includes osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Injury (a dislocation, fracture, tear, hernia, sprain, or bursitis)
- Pinched nerve
- Other issues (osteoporosis, avascular necrosis, osteomyelitis, etc.)
Thus, a patient presenting with pain in the hip can be experiencing any one (or more) of these types of issues.
Obtaining a proper hip pain diagnosis
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) states that obtaining a proper hip diagnosis begins with collecting a detailed history of the patient’s symptoms with a goal of learning more about when they began, their level of severity, and how much they’ve been impacting the patient’s life.
Subsequently, a physical exam should be performed. This involves checking the patient’s range of motion in the hip. Gait testing, the FABER (flexion, abduction, external rotation) test, the FADIR (flexion, adduction, internal rotation) test, log roll test, straight leg raise, and the Ober test can all be used to help determine the extent, severity and potential cause of the pain.
Other diagnostic tests may also be necessary. For instance, if a labral tear is suspected — which generally shows in the form of dull or sharp referred pain, and pain with weight bearing — the AAFP recommends magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, if bursitis is thought to be the cause of the hip pain, ultrasonography may be helpful instead.
Chiropractic for hip pain relief
Studies have shown that, in many cases, chiropractic can provide patients hip pain relief. For instance, in a 2011 case study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, a 70-year-old female presented with hip pain that had lasted one year. She’d also fallen twice within the previous five years.
After 16 chiropractic sessions conducted over 12 weeks of time, the patient exhibited improvements in her left hip internal rotation, a 17-second Time Up and Go test, and a One Leg Standing Test. She also experienced better range of motion, improved balance, enhanced gait speed, and decreased disability, while also reporting that she was “very much better.”
Chiropractic can help with other types of hip pain as well, such as those associated with hip replacement surgery, as evidenced by another case study. This one reported that a 45-year-old male experiencing pain after having his hip replaced had increased range of motion and Harris Hip scores after engaging in chiropractic manipulation of the lumbar and sacroiliac joints. Not only did this help reduce his post-surgery pain, it also impacted his flexibility and strength issues.
Correcting hip pain with orthotics
Orthotics are another effective tool for relieving patients’ hip pain. This is especially true if the cause of the pain is osteoarthritis.
In a review of the literature published in Current Opinion in Rheumatology, researchers from Harvard, Boston University, and the Institute for Aging Research noted that though research is somewhat lacking in this area, “orthotics, specific shoe types and footwear interventions may provide effective non-surgical intervention in rheumatic diseases.”
This review goes on to explain that, while most people believe that foot orthotics work by changing skeletal alignment, they actually provide benefits due to changing the shank and foot muscle activation, while also impacting gait pattern and reducing joint loading. Ultimately, this improves the health and function of the hip.
In addition to pain relief, custom orthotics can provide many benefits for patients with foot issues that extend upward, causing knee and hip problems as well. Foot Levelers reports that these benefits include having better balance, a more proper musculoskeletal alignment, and correction of foot imbalances which, in turn, improve weight distribution.
Custom orthotics versus OTC
While some patients may be inclined to try over-the-counter options, custom orthotics made from scans or casts of their feet can provide more specialized relief.
Because no two feet are exactly the same, customized orthotics are crafted to the specifications of all three arches of the patient’s foot. As a result, the issue causing the hip pain is fully addressed in a manner that is more likely to provide positive results.
This type of response cannot be guaranteed with over-the-counter orthotic options. And since the foot’s alignment can cause pain and other issues to radiate up the entire body, beyond the hips even, that makes custom orthotics a worthy investment.