HipJust PostedPainStaying Pain-Free During Covid-19


Behind knees and shoulders, hips are one of the most troublesome parts of our bodies…particularly us gals. And it goes double during Covid-19, so listen up! I divide hip pain into 3 areas: the buttock, the side of the hip and the groin area. Most commonly, buttock pain is related to the back (sciatica), or strain to the muscles of the buttock. Lateral hip pain, or pain along that bump on the outside of the hip, is usually related to the bursa. The groin is where your hip actually lives, so pain in the groin can be due to arthritis, or other conditions of the hip and surrounding structures.

  • Here’s where the ICE part of R.I.C.E. doesn’t work so well. The hip is pretty deep, and it takes a long time for cold to get there. And it’s very hard to keep an ice pack on the side of your hip. Elevation doesn’t work that well because it’s hard to elevate your hip.
  • But REST works. If something around your hip is hurting, and you can find a position in which you are not so painful…seek that position more often, and your hip (or any place in your body for that matter) will thank you for it. I also refer to that as mindfulness. We often think that unless we are 100% pain-free, then a treatment isn’t working. Less pain, and being aware, or mindful of how to experience less pain is effective, and it’s the right thing to do. When you’re in pain, it is really not beneficial to work through that pain, especially if it’s in a bone or joint. This goes double during this viral pandemic, since we should try to stay out of doctors’ offices and ERs if possible.
  • PILLOWS can help. Put pillows anywhere around your hips, to either cushion them or keep your legs separated, relieving tension from painful muscles or joints. I did a series of posts regarding the use of pillows to decrease pain.
  • Cushion your hips. If it hurts the side of your hip when you sleep on it, then you likely have bursitis. Get a 3-inch memory foam mattress topper.
  • SLOW DOWN! Hip pain can be exacerbated by walking fast…like power walking.
  • Get off the treadmill if you’ve noticed pain anywhere in your legs, since starting the program. I’ve seen a lot of increased hip pain, hip tendonitis, and stress fractures due to aggressive treadmill walking. If you want to use the treadmill for exercise, then make your program as similar to regular walking as possible. Avoid power-walking. Slow down. Avoid constant uphill walking. Wear good shoes. Try not to grab the handrails. If you feel you need to hold on for balance or security, do it intermittently or just touch the handrails occasionally as you exercise.
  • Do not seek out stairs as a source of exercise. It’s hard on the hips and knees. Climb them if you must, but avoid them otherwise. And while I’m dissing stairs, here’s a post regarding stair safety. You’d be surprised at how many patients I see with injuries they can blame on stairs.
  • Sit Like A Man (S.L.A.M.™). Yep, sitting with the legs slightly apart, reduces tension on the muscles of the buttock and the iliotibial band, which is the tendon crossing the greater trochanter (that bump on the side of your hip) and the bursa overlying it. Read my posts or watch videos about it on my blog, drbarbarabergin.com
  • Read my blog post regarding hip bursitis
  1. Lynda

    I look forward to your emails, but this one in particular I have been waiting for. I have left messages before,and followed your advice, but still continue to have really bad hip pain, on the outside of my hip, but also down my shin. Don’t know if these are related, but both keep me awake at night, aching and throbbing. I have had hip X-rays, which were normal, and bursa shots in January, and then again 2 weeks ago. These were given by a pain and joint doctor.
    My primary care doctor ordered an MRI, which I got today. Any thoughts? I value your advice.
    Wish you were close enough for me to see. I am about 3 hours away, so maybe doable if I can’t get relief, and if you are taking new patients. Thank you so much.

    1. Barbara

      Sorry you’re still having hip pain. I don’t know if your hip and shin pain are related. For the most part, the only hip pain that would be related to shin pain, would be sciatica, and therefore coming from the back.
      So, you can see me from the comfort of your own home via telemedicine. It is hard for me to give specific advice without at least seeing you point to the areas of concern and doing even a visual exam. Make an appointment! That will be a first…a telemedicine visit with one of my blog readers! 512-439-1001.

  2. Inga Morgan

    Love your horse picture! At 61, I am a newbie to hip pain. Can’t stand in one spot or sit for very long. Groin pain and right hamstring pain for 3 months. Very active and don’t want to stop….getting in pool and bike more to decrease my running urge. I also have chickens that I’m constantly chasing around and just keep hoping this hip doesn’t give out on me.

    1. Barbara

      Obviously, I can’t tell you exactly what is wrong with you, but it sounds more complicated than hip bursitis. Groin pain can be related to the joint itself. Buttock pain can be related to chronic hamstring tears or problems in the back. I’d be happy to do a telemedicine visit. Since Covid-19, this is now a more practical option for many patients. But you can see a doc wherever you are too. My office number is 512-439-1001.
      Why are you chasing chickens. Not a good idea, because your hip joint and hamstrings are under duress, if you already have a problem with them! Can you train them to go where you want using treats? I use fancy scratch or mealworms and mine go wherever I want them to!

    1. Barbara

      I posted this a long time ago, and other than the fact that Linens and Things has gone to the wayside, it’s still what I recommend and how I do things personally. Check it out.


      Hope it helps. And remember…if you decide on a mattress, and you have a nice primary care doc or orthopod…ask them for a prescription for a “healthy mattress.” Then you won’t have to pay sales taxes. As my grandmother from the Bronx used to say, (so try this with a Bronx accent) “It’s not much, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.”

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