Want to learn more about this at Kettering Health?Learn More
Hip pain can make everyday tasks—walking or taking the stairs—difficult. If you experience discomfort in your thigh, buttocks, groin, or the inside or outside of your hip joint, find relief with Kettering Health.
Conditions like arthritis or a previous injury can lead to hip pain.
Minor hip pain can be treated with over-the-counter medications, but there are signs to be aware of if you have been recently injured and are having pain.
Causes and Risk Factors of Hip Pain
The location of your hip pain can help point to its cause. Pain on the inside of your hip or groin can lead to pain in the hip joint. Pain on the outside of your hip, upper thigh, or outer buttock is usually caused by problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues that surround your hip joint.
Hip pain may be caused by a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Avascular necrosis (or osteonecrosis)
- Inflamed tendons
- Pinched nerves
Symptoms of Hip Pain
Hip pain can surface at various locations related to the hip.
Seek emergency care if your hip pain is caused by an injury and accompanied by
- a joint that appears deformed
- any signs of infection
- inability to move your leg or hip
- inability to bear weight on the affected leg
- intense pain
- sudden swelling
Types of Hip Pain
Hip pain caused by arthritis or another condition will need further treatment from your doctor. The most common symptom of hip osteoarthritis is pain around the hip joint.
Usually, the pain develops slowly and worsens over time.
A sudden pain is more likely caused by an injury. One of the most common types of injury to occur is a hip sprain or strain.
This occurs when one of the muscles supporting the hip joint is stretched beyond its limit or torn. Strains may be mild, moderate, or severe. Strains can occur by performing everyday tasks, but more commonly happen during physical activities.
You may be at more of a likelihood to experience a hip fracture as you age, as bones tend to weaken with conditions such as osteoporosis. Most of the time, a hip fracture will require surgical repair or replacement, followed by physical therapy.
Diagnosis of Hip Pain
To diagnose your hip pain, your doctor will check for conditions such as arthritis. They will ask detailed questions about your pain, when it is worse, and if it affects your quality of life.
Your doctor will have you walk to observe the joint being used. They will also measure the motion in both hips and compare the two.
Imaging tests will be performed to provide your doctor with detailed views of your bones, cartilage, and other tissues. These tests may include the following:
- CT scans
- MRI scans
These tests will help your doctor make a diagnosis. Additional tests may be required.
Treatment of Hip Pain
If your hip pain is minor, you may not need to see a doctor. Try these at-home treatments first:
- Ice or heat
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
Other treatment for hip pain depends on the cause. If you have arthritis, your doctor will prescribe medications to relieve pain and stiffness. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who can offer further advice or a physical therapist who can show you exercises to take care of the joint.
For injuries, treatment typically involves bed rest and medications such as naproxen (Aleve) to relieve swelling and pain.
Surgery may be required for hip fractures or malformation of the hip. Some injuries may require repairing or replacing the hip. With hip-replacement surgery, a surgeon replaces the damaged hip joint with an artificial one.
Some holistic therapies can also provide relief from hip pain. Always discuss treatment options with your doctor before undergoing any alternative treatment. Possible holistic therapies include seeing a chiropractor for an adjustment or having acupuncture performed.