Hip spine syndrome

Last revised by Dr Henry Knipe on 01 Sep 2021

Hip spine syndrome is one term used to describe the clinical association between hip osteoarthritis and degenerative lumbar spinal canal stenosis due to overlapping pain distribution. 

Patients with hip spine syndrome have hip and lumbar spine degeneration and present with buttock, thigh and/or knee pain 2. Groin and/or buttock pain are thought to be specific markers for hip pathology 1,2

Hip spine syndrome has been classified into four types 1,3:

  • simple (primary): symptomatic hip and lumbar pathology but straightforward clinical differentiation
  • secondary: symptomatic hip and lumbar pathology where one has caused the other
  • complex: symptomatic hip and lumbar pathology but clinical identification of the source of pain is not possible
  • misdiagnosed: hip and lumbar pathology with inappropriate treatment resulting in ongoing symptoms

In patients with hip-spine syndrome where the pain source cannot be identified, an image-guided hip joint injection is an accurate diagnostic test 4

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