Sometimes pain and dysfunction are the result of an issue that doesn’t seem directly related to your symptoms at first. But it isn’t uncommon to injure one body part to find another part of the body suffers because of it.
Think of what happens when you twist an ankle. You walk with a limp, favoring the other side to keep the weight off the injury. We compensate that way with any injury, giving it a chance to heal. Sometimes we realize it, but sometimes we are unaware that our body is adjusting around an injury.
Either way, that compensation can cause its own problems if we rely on it for too long. This is why a hip injury can end up triggering a chain of events leading to pelvic floor dysfunction.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball-shaped end of the femur (the long bone in the upper leg) fits into a “socket” in the pelvic bone. A ring of cartilage and connective tissue lines that socket and stabilizes the joint. It also acts as a shock absorber when we walk, run, jump, and dance.
That ring, called the acetabular labrum, can be torn in a variety of circumstances. Athletic activity, pregnancy, and disease can all contribute to this injury. Symptoms of a labral tear include pain in the hip, groin, or buttocks, clicking of the joint, and loss of range-of-motion. The joint can even lock or give way in severe cases.
With these sorts of symptoms, it is no wonder that we would compensate and shift the way we carry our body to relieve the pain and symptoms in the hip.
But when we do this we may inadvertently cause strain on the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles support the bowel, bladder and sexual organs. When these organs experience strain, a number of issues may result, including incontinence and pain with intercourse.
For this reason, it is important to remember two things. First, don’t take a hip injury lightly. Injuries to this joint can lead to significant long-term issues, so have them evaluated right away.
Second, be sure that your physician or physical therapists doesn’t just treat your pelvic floor dysfunction in isolation, but that they look for causes outside of the pelvis, such as a labral tear.
Are you concerned about symptoms in your hip or pelvis? We would be happy to evaluate your symptoms and propose a plan to help relieve them. Contact our office to schedule your appointment with one our physical therapists.
Image credit: decade3d via Adobe Stock