It’s not just older adults who suffer from hip pain and injuries. In fact, the ability to perform everyday activities often is impacted by hip-related issues in individuals between the ages of 35 and 60.
John Gallucci Jr., MS, ATC, PT, DPT and CEO of Woodbridge-based JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, said that hip injuries — such as groin strains and bursitis, which is irritation or inflammation impacting the fluid-filled sacs known as the bursae that act as cushions for the bones, tendons and muscles surrounding joints — are not uncommon in otherwise healthy individuals.
“We're very fortunate in New Jersey and New York: We live in what I call a ‘recreation mecca,’” Gallucci said. “There is nowhere that you don't see people jogging, cycling, playing tennis or playing golf. We have a plethora of opportunities to stay healthy, and, as we all learned in grammar school, physical education, if you don't use it, you lose it.”
While the benefits of physical fitness are great, those who spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk and haven’t kept up with conditioning have a greater chancing of suffering an injury, Gallucci said.
“We see people who get anterior (frontal) hip pain, usually from overuse,” he said. “We call that a hip flexor strain. It’s very common. The other thing that we see, especially in tennis and in golf, is what we call greater trochanter bursitis, which basically means the side of your hip hurts and sometimes swells. The other most common thing around the hip is gluteal (muscles in the buttocks) strain because, again, they’re not prepared.”
Common Hip Injuries and The Importance of Stretching
As people get older, arthritis and the erosion of the soft tissues of cartilage may call for surgery. However, proper stretching before and after an activity can minimize the risk.
“But the most common injuries that we see in our area are definitely the hip flexor strain, the greater trochanter IT band type, and gluteus,” he said. “We actually have a hip-stretching protocol that we give everybody who has hip pain. That involves the trunk, stretching your IT band, and your gluteals, and also encompasses your lower back.”
These stretches should be performed once people are warmed up as well as after the activity, Gallucci said.
“It's very important to keep the flexibility because a lot of people will pick one sport,” Gallucci said. “They're going to just play tennis, just play golf, just cycle, or they’re only going to run. As we've learned through science and research, multidirectional athletes get injured less often. The common lay person picks one thing and does only that. That’s where you get these overuse strains, or bursitis injuries.”
Should an individual need surgery, it’s important to know that JAG-ONE’s physical and occupational therapists are trained in post-operative care to help restore patients to a functional level.
Treating the Individual, Not Just the Injury
JAG-ONE provides a high level of care, and with locations throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, it is a physical therapy leader in the tristate area. During patients’ initial visit, therapists begin an assessment of the clients’ pain level, range of motion and ability to perform everyday activities. Therapists and trainers also examine above and below the hip region, assessing core stabilizers, knees, ankles and feet to determine the true source of pain.
“Something that JAG-ONE prides itself on is that we just don't treat injuries, we treat individuals as a whole, and we look at the entire biomechanical chain,” Gallucci said. “Then, the plan of care will be made based on those limitations and the process of rehabilitation will begin.”
Depending on a patient’s needs, rehabilitation may involve simplistic modalities to reduce pain and swelling, followed by hands-on mobilization and massages, and then shift to an exercise prescription, ensuring patients return to their functional activity level.
Getting Golfers Back in the Game
Another distinction that sets JAG-ONE apart is the inclusion of experienced Titleist Performance Instructors (TPI).
“These are medical instructors who have TPI certifications, and we have them throughout all of our clinics,” Gallucci said. “These instructors are trained on prevention of golf injuries and rehabilitation of injuries.”
Having these specialists as part of JAG-ONE’s team enables golfers to get back on the fairways quickly and safely.
“Nobody wants to be sidelined when they’re trying to stay fit,” Gallucci said.
For more information, visit jagonept.com.