Cashier: 20, M, 130lbs - Why the hell is my hip hurting?
July 28, 2007 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Cashier: 20, M, 130lbs - Why the hell is my hip hurting?

I've been cashiering this summer, so for the past 2+ months, i've been standing and moving groceries from right to left and into a bag for 30-33 hours a week.
For the first week, my knees hurt. I refused to take over-the-counter pain medicine, because I'm 20 and not overweight - pain is the body's way of telling me that there is a problem. I made efforts to better my posture, and the pain went away.

About a week or so ago, my left hip started hurting. The back of the joint itself - not the muscle as far as i can tell. I pivot on it a lot, but for some reason i was under the impression that i wouldnt be dealing with hip pain until my 60's.

It's not unbearable pain, but it makes me worry that i might be causing some sort of long-term problem. I'm only working there for another week - Another 30 hours at the job isnt going to cause any long-term damage, Right?
posted by itheearl to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
My knee hurts like a fucker because the arch in the shoes I'm wearing is wrong for me. You might want to look into that.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:12 AM on July 28, 2007

My self-diagnosis of my own mysterious hip pain's cause was that I was often sleeping on my stomach with one leg bent, in a comfortable prone recovery position, which I suspected was stretching the hip joint and causing it to hurt at random moments during the day.

I started sleeping with both legs straight and the pain vanished.
posted by Eater at 9:44 AM on July 28, 2007

It's possible that your legs are slightly different lengths. The cheap fix for this is to fold up some paper and put it in your shoe under the heel of the shorter leg. Adjust as needed.

How to tell if one leg is shorter: Lie on your back on the floor with shoes off, legs up, and soles of feet towards the ceiling. Viewed from the side, this looks like an "L". Have a friend look at the height of your heels and see if they are the same. Friend should push gently down on your heels and see if they continue to be the same. Pick a friend for this who is good at leveling pictures on the wall and that sort of thing.
posted by yohko at 9:48 AM on July 28, 2007

My first thought is you need better shoes. Are the heels worn down on the shoes you're wearing now? How's the arch support?

My second thought is your wallet; do you carry a wallet in your back pocket? This can be really bad for your back. When you're sitting you're raising one butt cheek slightly higher than the other which will put a kink in your spine. I had back problems for years that went away the second I stopped carrying things in my back pockets.

My third thought is your general posture. Do you slouch? Do you affect a languid lean? Try forcing yourself to stand straight. There are some good exercises here.
posted by lekvar at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2007

oh, i'm wearing New Balance 907's with the extra New Balance arch supports - i figure that for what i paid they should be adequate.
Tri-fold wallet - my need to reconsider that one.

Any thoughts on that little grey pad that the give us to stand on? Is it good to stand on that, or would i be better off just standing on the tile? I'm starting to wonder if it makes me stand at weird angles.
posted by itheearl at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2007

It's possible that your legs are slightly different lengths.

My ex had weird hip pain that was corrected when he happened to mention it to the chiropractor he was seeing for other reasons. Something was out of alignment which caused his legs to be slightly different lengths. The chiropractor was able to put him back into alignment, but if you can't see a chiropractor I'd suggest putting something in one of your shoes to compensate for the difference. Have a friend or relative inspect your legs while you're lying on your back, the difference should be noticeable.
posted by rhapsodie at 11:02 AM on July 28, 2007

Maybe bursitis? I had a bout of it at age 27 or something; it's more about poor habits/posture than age. I had to go to a physical therapist for a few (three?) sessions to find out that my back muscles were stronger than my stomach muscles and therefore my spine was being bowed too far (thereby bringing my thighbone's ball into wrong contact with my hip socket). They gave me exercises to equalize things.
The pain is definitely deeper than a pulled muscle, and you might be able to feel that the joint is warmer than it should be.
posted by zusty at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2007

This is probably not the right answer, because it rarely affects men of your age, but I want to post it for future people who might be searching here. When "phantom" pain (by that I mean the pain is real but of indeterminate source) moves from one spot to another in your leg, it can be a result of a bulging disc in your back impinging on a nerve. This causes false signals to be sent to the brain. Before I had back surgery I had leg pain that would alternate between my hip, quad, calves, and achilles tendon. It tends to affect men between the ages of 30 and 50, so it is unlikely that is your problem, but certainly possible.
posted by vito90 at 11:32 AM on July 28, 2007

IANAD, but I have had hip replacement surgery in both hip joints. Persistent pain in the hip joint can be a symptom of avascular necrosis, although the incidence of the disease in persons as young as 20 is lower than for somewhat older people. Still, athletes as prominent as Bo Jackson and Floyd Landis have suffered from it, in their 20s. And there are idiopathic versions of the disease that primarily affect children as young as 6. If the pain persists after rest, and obvious issues with footwear and posture are ineffective in correcting it, consult a physician for proper diagnosis. If the joint is being damaged, early intervention and treatment may stave off surgical intervention, and reduce the pain and debilitation you are experiencing, while providing an early alert of other conditions that sometimes accompany AVN, of which young suffers should be aware, and be regularly checked.
posted by paulsc at 1:56 PM on July 28, 2007

Stupid question: Which pocket to you keep your wallet in? Is it a big wallet? If you answered "back pocket, the side my hip is hurting" and "big", then you might have your answer. The standing just makes the pain noticeable.
posted by SpecialK at 3:05 PM on July 28, 2007

4 more shifts.
I think I can do it.
It's actually the hip opposite my wallet that's hurting.

I've never suffered from any serious health issues, and i've actually lost over 10lbs this summer - lack of activity coupled with bringing my own lunch to work.

I'm young, If I can make it through tomorrow's shift, i can finish the other three.
posted by itheearl at 9:49 PM on July 28, 2007

I always got pain in the opposite side. Not to push my point, just more data.
posted by lekvar at 10:24 PM on July 28, 2007

hmmm, 20 years old, 130 lbs? sounds like you are on the skinnier side. maybe your joints hurt because you need some muscle to stabilize the joint. Imagine your hip joint acting much like an elastic GI-Joe's; the less strong the muscles are that hold it in, the more likely you are to periodically tweak it lightly, hurting the joint over time. I'm a runner, and I eliminated chronic light pain in my ankle and knee this way.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 10:26 PM on July 28, 2007

The kind of shifting you do as a cashier (I used to be one) can be hard on your joints. Standing all day long, while lifting heavy things (milk, cases of pop) from side to side is hard work. I would also guess bursitis.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:18 PM on July 29, 2007

If you can see a doctor, please see one. I developed arthritis in my twenties, and because I was uninsured I didn't see a doctor. It started with persistent, intermittent hip pain. Because no preventive measures were taken, permanent damage has been done.
posted by digitalis at 8:24 PM on July 30, 2007

It went away. And i'm working only one more four-hour shift. But trust me, if pain comes back, will be going to the doctor.

Did get a thinner wallet, and am thinking about doing away with the wallet alltogether once I head back to college and have to sit for several hours every day.
posted by itheearl at 8:33 PM on August 2, 2007

Just in case someone else happens to stumble upon this: a friend of mine (19, about 150 pounds, male) was having serious hip pain. It turns out that in one of his legs, the ball and socket joint was missized (the ball was too big for the socket, or something), so the bones were grinding against each other. He didn't notice this until he went to college and did decathalon training (His first athletic activity since junior high).
posted by dismas at 2:45 AM on August 3, 2007

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