Hip Pain

What is Hip Pain?

Hip pain is when you experience pain in the joints or muscles in the hip or pelvic area. Pain in the hip is a generally known complaint affecting both adults and children and has a range of different causes.A hip pain or hip joint pain starts gradually and is normally felt in the thigh, groin or buttock. [1, 3, 9]

Hip Pain Picture 1

Pain in the hip can sometimes be felt in the other body parts, may be in the knees or the front of the thigh which can be very misguiding to the affected person or your healthcare provider. This kind of pain is known as referred pain.

Hip Pain Picture 2


Hip pain can be influenced by a number of factors. At times pain from the other parts of the body such as groin or back can transmit to the hip. If you experience hip pain below are some common causes:

  • Trochanteric Bursitis which causes inflammation of the bursa over the outside of the hip joint.
  • Arthritisis the most common cause of chronic hip pain in women especially osteoarthritis.
  • A Labral tear is the cartilage that surrounds the hip joint. Hip labral can tear and cause pain and catch sensations in the joint.
  • Tendonitisaffects tendons that connect the muscles to the hip joint. Tendons can get inflamed easily if overused or if one participates in strenuous activities.
  • Osteonecrosis is a condition whereby blood flow to the hip joint is reduced causing the cells to die and the bone could break down.
  • A hip fracture can cause unexpected hip pain and is more frequent in senior adults with fragile bones.
  • Bursitis a condition where the bursa, a fluid-filled sac becomes swollen and inflamed can cause hip pain.
  • An inflamed ligament in the thigh also called iliotibial band syndrome which occurs as a result of too much running also causes hip pain.
  • Irritable hip which is common in children causes symptoms such as hip pain and limping. This condition occurs when the lining that protects the hip joint becomes inflamed and irritated.


Hip pain treatment should be administered after the cause of the pain has been specified. Here are symptoms of hip pain that would require medical assistance:

  • Feeling discomfort and unable to walk on the affected side.
  • Sudden or intense pain
  • Feeling pain while resting or during the night
  • Swelling or bleeding
  • If you feel incapable of bending

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain when exercising or playing sport
  • Pain in the knee, groin or thigh
  • Pain in your lower back
  • Feeling pain when you stand or sit for a while
  • Feeling pain when you walk down or up stairs


Your doctor will make sure to confirm if your hip is actually the problem after you tell him or her about the pain in your hip. The pain could be from your lower back, upper buttock or the upper thigh so the doctor has to confirm first.

Other examinations include:

  • A physical examination can be done to evaluate your gait. Your doctor will carefully pay attention to your thighs, hips, back and how you walk.
  • An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, blood testor X-ray may be required to make a diagnosis.


Prior to starting on a treatment plan, it is crucial to clearly understand the cause of your pain and symptoms.Many a time hip pain gets better on its own. However, not every treatment is relevant for every condition but can be beneficial for your situation.Below are some common treatments for hip pain:

  • Resting the hip joint usually helps reduce acute inflammation and other symptoms. In the case of severe symptoms, a cane or crutches may help take the weight offthe hip.
  • Medications mostly recommended include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatorymedications or ibuprofen to help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Stretching tendons and muscles around the joint can help ease the pain. Your doctor or physiotherapist can establish a good routine for you to follow.
  • Icing and heat application are commonly used to help reduce inflammation. Heat is for more chronic relief and ice is mostly used for acute inflammation.
  • Physical therapywill help control your symptoms and boost your general functional mobility.
  • Surgery may be needed for people who have fractured their hips to replace the hip or fix the fracture. In severe osteoarthritis that could deform the hip joint, a hip replacement procedure may be considered.


Hip replacement surgery has increasingly become safe with technology advancement but the major surgery can still cause complications.

  • After a hip replacement surgery, one may have complications such as blood clot, dislocation,and inflammation
  • After the first three months after surgery one may experience discomfort or pain.

Other rare but serious complications include:

  • Metallosis
  • Fractures
  • Infection
  • Differing leg length


Not all hip problems can be prevented and most of the measures used to treat it can also help avert it from worsening. Some measure that you can take to decrease your chances of having hip pain include:

  • Eat food rich in calcium, remain agile and get the commended levels of vitamin D all through your life to help keep your bones healthy and strong.
  • All through your life you should maintain a healthy weight because being overweight or obese increases your chances of having complete hip or knee replacement.
  • Do warm-ups and stretches before exercises or workouts.


Some of the hip pain can be managed at home to help in the healing process but if the pain does not go away get medical help.The following homecare tips could be helpful:

  • Do not stand for long periods and put on comfortable flat shoes.
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen.
  • Avoid movements or activities that can only worsen your situation.
  • If you are overweight, lose some weight to reduce some strain on your hip.
  • You could see a physiotherapist for muscle-strengthening exercises.
  • When you sleep put a pillow between your legs and sleep on the unaffected side.

Reference List

  1. www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/hip-pain-causes-and-treatment
  2. www.nhs.uk/conditions/hip-pain-adults/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  3. www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hip-pain/basics/definition/sym-20050684
  4. www.everydayhealth.com/hip-pain/five-common-causes-of-hip-pain-in-women.aspx
  5. Available at www.emedicinehealth.com/hip_pain/article_em.htm
  6. Hip pain. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003179.htm
  7. www.healthline.com/symptom/hip-pain
  8. Available at www.webmd.boots.com/pain-management/guide/hip-pain-causes-and-treatment
  9. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_pain
  10. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hip-pain
  11. https://www.drugwatch.com/hip-replacement/complications

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