Hip pain refers to pain that occurs in and around your hip. Hip pain can be caused by problems with your hip joint. This type of hip pain tends to be felt on the inside of your hip or in your groin.
Hip pain can also be caused by problems with the muscle, ligaments, tendons and other structures that support your hip joint. Hip pain associated with these problems tends to occur on the outside of the hip or the upper thigh. Hip pain can sometimes be caused by diseases and conditions in other areas of your body. This type of pain is called referred pain.
Signs & Symptoms
Hip pain is often difficult to describe, and patients may complain that the hip just hurts. The location, description, and intensity of pain; what makes it better and what makes it worse depend upon what structure is involved and the particular structure that is inflamed or injured.
- Trauma to the hip. A fall, direct blow, a twist, or stretch, the pain is felt almost immediately.
- Overuse injury. The onset of pain may be delayed by minutes or hours as inflamed muscles surrounding the hip joint go into spasm or joint surfaces inflame, causing fluid accumulation.
- Pain. Most often pain is felt in the front of the hip, but the joint is three-dimensional. Pain may also be felt along the outside part of the hip or even in the buttock area.
- Limp. Limping is the body's way of compensating for pain by trying to minimize the amount of weight the hip has to support while walking. Limping is never normal. Also, when limping occurs, abnormal stresses are placed on other joints including the back, knees, and ankles.
- Fracture. With a hip fracture, there is an acute onset of constant pain after the injury that is made worse with almost any movement. The leg may appear shortened and rotated outward. Pelvic fractures may have similar pain.
- Sciatica pain. Pain from sciatica tends to start in the back and radiate to the buttocks and to the front or side of the hip. It may be described in different ways because of nerve inflammation. Some descriptive terms used may include sharp, stabbing, or burning. The pain of sciatica may be made worse with straightening the knee which stretches the sciatic nerve and may make it difficult to stand from a sitting position, or walk with a full stride.
- Arthritis. If arthritis narrows the hip joint or impinges on the way the femoral head can glide in the acetabulum, or if there is a cartilage or labrum tear, the pain may be associated with a “catch,” or a feeling like there is something impeding hip movement.
- Pain from arthritis tends to be worse after a period of inactivity and gets better as the joint “warms up” with use. But as activity increases, the pain will return.
Some of the most common causes of hip pain include:
- Arthritis, which is often felt in the front part of your thigh or in your groin
- Trochanteric bursitis, which typically causes pain when the patient gets up from a chair, walks, climbs stairs, or drives
- Tendinitis, from repetitive or strenuous activity
- Strain or sprain
- Lower-back pain, such as sciatica
- Avascular necrosis
- Hip fracture
- Hip labral tear
- Inguinal hernia
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- Paget’s disease of bone
- Pelvis fracture
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
- Various types of cancer