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Lt Col Jerman
As with other orthopedic injuries, diagnosing a hip injury involves several steps, including a medical history, physical examination, and possibly one or more diagnostic tests. Dr. Patel, can you tell us more about diagnosing hip injuries?

Dr. Patel
Of course, Dr. Jerman. First a medical history is taken to help the provider understand any previous conditions or injuries that might affect your current condition. During the medical history, the provider will ask how long symptoms have been present and what problems you’re having using your hip. The provider will also ask about any injury, condition, or health issue that might be causing the problem.

During the physical examination, the provider will often examine your leg and hip for tenderness or swelling. They may apply pressure to various muscles and move your leg and hip in various directions to assess your range of motion. You may also be asked to perform a variety of stretches and movements.

Depending on the findings of the medical history and physical exam, providers may use one or more diagnostic tests to more accurately determine the nature of your hip problem. Some of the more commonly used tests include x-rays, MRIs, and arthrograms. Each of these tests has its primary use. X-rays identify bone injuries. MRIs are effective at showing injuries to soft tissues, such as cartilage and ligaments, and arthrograms allow the structures of the hip to be observed while in motion.

These tests may be ordered immediately after the injury, or your provider may recommend waiting until after the initial swelling and bruising have resolved. Your provider will discuss the various tests with you, and suggest those that are most appropriate for your condition.