Hip Pain Symptoms and Treatment

Causes of Hip Pain

Hip pain symptoms and treatment are a very common reason for doctor visits worldwide. There are many reasons that people of all ages may experience hip pain.

From arthritis to fractures (breaks in bone), there are a very large number of reasons why hip pain occurs. Pain can also result from muscle strains or ligament sprains from overexertion or other recent change in activity. Another disease called osteonecrosis (usually bone death of the femoral head) may also cause hip pain. This may eventually lead to joint collapse (osteoarthritis) as well.

It’s always important to see your doctor if you’re experiencing hip pain or soreness. Many hip disorders may need immediate treatment such as hip dislocations or fractures. In these situations, early treatment will prevent future complications and reduced mobility down the road.

Hip Pain Symptoms

Hip Pain

There are many flavors of hip pain depending on the underlying problem. Soreness may result from overexertion or straining of the muscle around the joint. In arthritic hips, stiffness may accompany this soreness and patients may notice a decrease in mobility and flexibility. This may be especially true at rest or very early in the morning when the patient starts their day. Symptoms may even change based on the weather.

Sharp pain or extreme pain usually accompany more severe injuries. Hip fractures and dislocations are extremely painful and will often follow some traumatic event such as a fall, car accident, etc.

The location of hip pain may differ depending on the underlying cause of pain.  For instance, issues involving the hip joint itself (hip arthritis, labral tears, femoral neck fractures) usually present as groin pain.  Issues involving muscles, bursae, and tendons such as the iliotibial (IT band) may present as outer thigh pain. It is also very important to remember that not all “hip pain” comes from the structures surrounding the hip. For example, spinal issues and hernias, can also present with groin and thigh pain.

Hip Pain Treatment

There are many treatment options for hip pain. The ultimate goal is to help the patient regain their quality of life or mobility.

Most commonly initial non-surgical hip treatment will include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Periodic rest, ice
  • Physical therapy – strengthening, stretching, improving or maintaining range of motion
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss may also be helpful in certain situations (discussed below)

Anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen) are the typical medications used to  provide temporary relief of pain. However, it is important to remember that anti-inflammatory medications can be harmful in certain situations (various heart conditions, kidney, stomach, and liver problems) and may actually not be recommended for some individuals.  It is important to check with your primary care doctor to see if anti-inflammatory medications are safe for you to use.

In managing hip pain, it is always important to keep the joint moving and to keep the supporting muscles strong. Additionally, in some cases, stretching can be extremely beneficial, as muscle tightness may be the underlying problem. For this reason, physical therapy may be recommended in the treatment of your hip pain.

In certain situations, like hip arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful to decrease pain.  This is because the heavier you are, the more stress your body places onto the already irritated hip.  By losing weight, you put less stress on the hip. This may help to improve pain.

While exercise is always good in most situations, sometimes it can be painful.  Lower impact exercises like water aerobics can be considered in these situations.

If all the above are attempted and you are still experiencing significant pain and dysfunction, surgery may be an option. In other situations such as hip fracture or dislocation, more immediate surgery is oftentimes required.

Hip Pain Outcomes

Many patients will find great relief through weight loss, therapy and regular gentle exercise. Anti-inflammatory medications can be helpful, but it is important to remember that they may actually be harmful in certain situations (certain heart conditions, kidney, stomach, and liver problems). It is important to check with your primary care doctor to see if anti-inflammatory medications are the right treatment for you.

If all else fails, patients in recent years have been able to nearly eliminate their hip pain through new surgical techniques and hip replacements.

If you’ve been experiencing hip pain, there is no reason to suffer in silence or to avoid enjoyable activities because of your symptoms. Your doctor will be able to help you explore the causes of your hip pain through a thorough physical exam and with the aid of imaging technologies such as x-rays or MRIs. If you’ve been suffering with hip pain, see your doctor today to get started on the road to relief and better mobility.

Note that the information in this article is purely informative and should never be used in place of the advice of professionals.

Common Problems With Hips



  1. Lise Peterson says

    My left hip joint throbs at night…keeps me awake.its also very tight when I try sitting cross legged as in Yoga….I had many injuries from horses growing up.

  2. Stephen Waldron says

    I have a severe hip pain what feels like in the joint when I raise my right leg in a cross position. Even laying on my right side and raising right leg I get same pain. The left does not have pain. My legs also go sleep quickly when sitting a hard or firm surface.

  3. I have a bad back and am having spinal surgery at the end of the month I have pain in my hip down the front of my thigh and back of leg shooting nerve pain the doctors say it is from the back because I have no pain in the groin and I can cross my legs with no pain in the groin could it be from the back.

  4. robert fowler says

    My symptoms are identical to those of R. Schlichting above. We are the same age. I am a male. The right foot has been numb for several months. The tight hip just started getting sharp pains in the right buttock area. It is very difficult to walk. This sharp hip pain happened with no warning, no accident and no identifiable reason. What do I do?

  5. Hi I have osteoarthritus in back, hips, neck, fingers, knees (had tkr and other knee having steroid injections. I had a fall from some steps in kitchen about 5 weeks ago, hitting my right thigh on worksurfaces throwing me onto my left side landing on floor on left thigh, elbow and buttock bone, very badly bruised. Went to GP checked painkillers. Since the fall I have lot of pain comes in “waves” in my hip down my leg seems to be at front of thigh to my knee, sleeping i get pain waking me.very stiff in hip less mobile stairs very painful to climb. Also left knee replacement has become painful more than before, i get a lot of cramp in left foot. So with osteoarthritus in hips and knees I am in pain and finding it hard to stand after sitting for half hour or so, what has happened… I visited my Gp other day to say how it’s affected my mobility and he said he thinks because of the fall the hip bone and buttock bone are nay be mis-aligned and trapping nerves?? Told me painkillers not working, physio takes so long to get appointment so suggested Chiropractor although he cannot refer me on NHS? I AM IN PAIN AND CANNOT AFFORD PRIVATE CHIROPRACTOR! Help..

  6. Hip pain – I have only one good suggestion: there are pressure points or trigger points or whatever you want to call them. Try having someone put there elbow on the side of your hips….You will know when they hit the right spot as you will feel a sharp pain & it will allow you to feel your hip joint. Take as much as you can & you will be shocked at the relief it can bring. I hope this helps someone out there…Now if I could find a cure that would be awesome….PS the best is when they touch down & lift and find another spot close by…It’s on the side approx. mid way up.

  7. willie nero says

    I hurt in my lower back. Around my pelvic bone right grown area do you thank this is my right hip sitting down stooping standing still hurt.

  8. I was pushed by a scooter on the road and I fell on my right side injuring my hip. The pain was severe but subsided after about 3 months.There is still a pain and I cant walk normally though I can climb stairs. Do please help

  9. R.Schlichting says

    I have a problem with my right hipand leg plus my foot gets numb. I been in treatment for the last five years and nobody can help me. My biggest problem is when I am standing I get horrible pain in my right hip and and leg. My toes get very numb. Once I get to sit down again, it slowly eases off. Radio frequency neurotomydid help a bit,but can’t be repeated again. My doctor thinks it is the sciatic. can I get the right help, I am so tired of being in pain all the time.i had an Mri done and Exrays. I need help please. I also had nerve block done and epidural steroid plusfacet injections done. I need help I am. A 75 year old female who likes to be very active. I am also very flexible. I do my exercise religiously. Please give me some idea what my chances are to lead a better live without pain. Yours truly. Rosemarie Schlichting..

  10. Rose Henderson says

    I used to get a lot of hip pain when I worked at Disneyland. I was a character performer so I would have to pop my foot out for pictures all the time. I think I always popped out the same foot though and it would put strain on my hip. A couple months after I left that job the hip pain didn’t come back so I thought I was fine. However, last week I felt the same pain again. Do you think I should go get it checked?

Speak Your Mind