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Introduction to Hip Pain

Hip pain is a prevalent issue that affects individuals across various age groups and activity levels. From young athletes experiencing sports injuries to older adults dealing with arthritis, hip pain can significantly impair mobility and quality of life. Whether it's a sharp, stabbing sensation or a dull, persistent ache. Understanding the underlying causes and effective treatments is crucial for managing symptoms and maintaining an active lifestyle.

When to Get a Hip MRI Scan

Consider getting a hip MRI if you experience:

  • Persistent hip pain that doesn't improve with rest and over-the-counter medications.
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion in the hip joint.
  • Pain that radiates to the groin, thigh, or buttocks.
  • Swelling or warmth around the hip area.
  • Clicking or popping sounds when moving the hip.
  • Difficulty performing daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or standing up from a seated position.

An MRI is particularly useful for diagnosing soft tissue injuries, labral tears, tendonitis and detecting joint inflammation or infection. Early diagnosis can lead to more effective treatment and better outcomes.

What are the Key Causes of Hip Pain and Swelling

  • Arthritis:some text
    • Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease where the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones in the hip joint gradually wears away, leading to pain and stiffness.
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the synovium (lining of the joints), causing inflammation, pain, and joint damage.
  • Hip Fractures:some text
    • Traumatic Injuries: Breaks in the hip bone often due to falls or accidents.
    • Osteoporosis-related Fractures: Fractures that occur due to weakened bones from osteoporosis, are common in older adults.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint, often due to repetitive activities or overuse.
  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons around the hip, commonly caused by overuse or strain from physical activity.
  • Muscle or Tendon Strain: Overuse injuries or acute strains from sudden movements can lead to pain and limited mobility.
  • Labral Tears: Tears in the labrum, the cartilage surrounding the hip joint, often from injury or structural abnormalities, causing pain and instability.
  • Hip Impingement:some text
    • Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI): A condition where extra bone grows along one or both of the bones that form the hip joint, leading to friction during movement and pain.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A congenital condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to instability and pain.
  • Sciatica: Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the legs, can cause referred pain in the hip area.
  • Infections:some text
    • Septic Arthritis: An infection in the joint, causing severe pain, swelling, and fever.
    • Osteomyelitis: An infection in the bone, leading to pain, fever, and swelling.
  • Referred Pain: Pain originating from the lower back or pelvis that manifests in the hip region, often due to issues like herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
  • Hip Bone Cancer: Primary or metastatic bone cancer that affects the hip, causing persistent pain as the disease progresses and affects the bone structure and surrounding tissues.

What Does an MRI Of  Hip Show?

A hip MRI provides detailed images of the soft tissues around the hip joint, including:

  • Muscles: Assessing muscle tears, strains, or inflammation.
  • Tendons: Detecting tendonitis or tears.
  • Ligaments: Identifying ligament sprains or injuries.
  • Cartilage: Evaluating the condition of the cartilage, particularly the labrum.
  • Labrum: Visualising labral tears or detachment.
  • Bursae: Identifying bursitis and the extent of inflammation.
  • Bone Structures: Assessing bone alignment and detecting fractures or abnormalities.
  • Joint Space: Evaluating joint space narrowing or effusion (excess fluid).

This comprehensive imaging helps pinpoint the exact cause of hip pain and guides appropriate treatment.

How Long Does a Hip MRI Scan Take?

A hip MRI typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on:

  • Specific Examination Details: Whether the scan includes contrast dye or multiple imaging sequences.
  • Preparation Time: Time taken to prepare for the scan, including changing into a gown and removing metal objects.
  • Imaging Process: Time required for the MRI machine to capture detailed images of the hip joint.

It's a non-invasive procedure that involves lying still while the images are taken, ensuring high-quality, detailed visuals of the hip structures.

Does Your Whole Body Go in For a Hip MRI?

No, only the lower half of your body needs to be inside the MRI machine for a hip MRI. Here's what to expect:

  • Positioning: You'll lie on your back on the MRI table, with your legs and hips positioned within the machine.
  • Comfort: Your head and upper body usually remain outside the machine, making the experience more comfortable, especially for those who may feel claustrophobic.
  • Communication: You'll be able to communicate with the technician throughout the procedure, and they can provide earplugs or headphones to reduce the noise from the machine.

Schedule Your MRI Scan

Understanding hip pain and when to get an MRI can significantly impact your health and mobility. Don't let hip pain control your life. Take the first step towards relief and recovery by scheduling your MRI scan with GetScanned today.

Book your MRI with GetScanned now and take control of your hip health!

Lorea content writter
Reviewed by
Dr. Sachin Shah
Clinical Lead
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Frequently asked questions

Do I need a GP-referral?

No prior GP-referral is required. Booking with us includes a GP phone consultation and referral. Shortly after booking you will be contacted by a GP from our team who will discuss your scan and provide a referral.

How long is an MRI scan?

MRI scans generally take a bit longer than other types of scans. Individual scans take 10-30 minutes depending on the body part being scanned, overall it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. You do have to lay very still for an MRI and if there is movement the scan may need to be repeated which can add some additional time.

What’s included in my booking?

With your GetScanned booking, you will receive:

  • A pre-scan phone consultation with a member of our medical team.
  • A referral for the scan.
  • Scheduling of a private MRI scan at your preferred scanning centre.
  • Access to your written report by a radiologist.
  • Access to your scan images (online and downloadable).

How much is a private MRI scan?

A private MRI scan cost varies depending on the part of the body being scanned and the location the scan is performed. Generally, a private MRI scan in the UK starts at around £350, and includes the scheduling, scan itself and results.

What’s the difference between an open and closed MRI?

Closed MRI machines are the traditional and first type of MRI. They are used more frequently because they provide higher quality images, however they aren’t ideal for certain types of scan or when the patient has limited mobility. Open or wide-bore MRI machines don’t involve lying in a tight cylinder, instead they have wider openings with more space and are therefore considered better if you suffer from claustrophobia. A standing MRI or upright MRI is a new type of open MRI that allows the patient to be in various different positions, including weight bearing positions. If you would prefer an open MRI please filter by MRI type to find an open MRI near you, but please be aware it is only available at certain locations.

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