Hip and knee pains can be experienced together or separately, but it is important to note that as the old saying goes, your knee bone is connected to your hip bone, therefore what happens with one, affects the other. Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint that works to support the weight of your upper body, relying on multiple muscles and tissues to keep it mobile and stable so it can move properly. Your knee is a hinge joint, confined to forward-and-backward motions. Individually, your knees support more weight than the hips, 6 times your body weight when doing a squat. Proper movement of both your hips and knees allows complicated motions giving you the ability to stand, walk, run, and dance without falling over.
Pain felt in the hips and/or knees may originate in the joints themselves, but it may also be a result of an underlying condition in another part of the body. For example, your hips and knees are part of the same kinetic chain, meaning they make up a combination of weight-bearing joints that must function together in harmony in order for your body and posture to function properly. Therefore, a problem with your knee joint may transmit abnormal forces to your hips, and vice versa. If one part of the kinetic chain is out of balance, stress and deterioration may be placed on another.
Many times, the hips and knees suffer the same diseases, disorders, and injuries. For example, overuse injuries such as tendinitis and chronic muscle strain are common in both the hips and knees because both joints are constantly in use. They are also both subject to acute injuries, such as sprains, strains, and dislocation.
Hip and knee pain can also be caused by referred pain from a pinched sciatic nerve, as the nerve travels through both areas. Imbalances in your stance or gait may cause abnormal stresses and premature wear-and-tear in your hips and knees, resulting in painful symptoms of arthritis
Some painful conditions may be specific to one joint or the other. Cartilage injuries known as labral tears are specific to hip pain, while inflammation of the bursa sacs known as bursitiis a specific condition affecting the knee joint. However, painful injuries that cause instability in the hips can also affect the knees. Tight hip flexor muscles and weak gluteus medius muscles can cause the hip to rotate inward without you realizing it. This can cause painful problems such as iliotibial band or patellofemoral stress syndrome, as stress is put on the knee or kneecap.
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