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Causes and Treatment of Hip Pain


Your hip is one of the largest joints in your body. It lets you walk, sit, turn and bend. Arthritis, injury, infection, bone tumors and trauma are the most common reasons for hip pain, but many other diseases and ailments can cause hip pain as well. Treatment of hip pain depends on the cause of the pain. Arthritis is treated differently than a bone tumor. Also, pain felt in your hip can be caused by other conditions in your body that refer the pain to your hip area.

Hip Anatomy

Your thigh bones connect your legs to your pelvis with a stable ball and joint socket. Bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles work together to form a complex joint. Fluid filled sacs, called bursa, cushion areas in the joint where ligaments or tendons slide across bone and a clear joint fluid secreted by the joint lining, or synovium, lubricates the hip joints during movement. Disease or trauma can affect any area of the hip joint to cause pain.


Since chronic hip pain can be change your quality of life, a thorough physician exam and diagnosis should be completed before administering any hip arthritis treatment. Several types of arthritis can cause hip pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and septic arthritis commonly cause pain in the groin and the front of the thigh. Loss of joint cartilage through normal wear and tear, inflammation or traumatic injury causes your leg bone to rub against your hip socket and cause hip pain. Hip arthritis treatment can vary from rest to complete joint replacement with a variety of treatment options in between.

Hip Injury


  • Bursitis
  • Sprain & Strain
  • Dislocation
  • Bruises & Tears
  • Fracture

Injuries from sports, overuse or accidental trauma can lead to hip pain. Sprains, strains, tendinitis, bursitis, dislocations and fractures cause hip pain. Bursitis occurs when the bursa become irritated and inflamed. This type of pain can worsen after long-term sitting or lying and can be felt at the point of the hip. Bursitis can be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes, physical therapy and steroid injections can help.

Sprains and strains on muscles, tendons or ligaments that support the hip joint can cause hip pain. Inflammation of these tissues can impede normal functionality of the hip joint. Torn tendons or ligaments may need surgical repair, while inflammation may need only rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications.

A hip dislocation occurs when the ball of the thigh bone moves out of the hip socket. Hip dislocation is usually severe and related to pelvic trauma. Sometimes, a doctor can manipulate the leg to place the ball of the thigh bone back into the socket. Surgery is needed when the bone cannot be replaced or pelvic fractures prevent placement.

The upper part of the hip bone is called the ileac crest. Many muscles attach to the ileac crest and a bruise to this area of tissue is called a hip pointer. The bruise can involve both bone and muscle. Treatment includes rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes, steroid injections can be used for severe pain from a hip pointer. Injury to the cartilage within the hip joint is called a labral tear. Tears can occur from normal wear and tear or traumatic injury. Treatment begins conservatively, but surgery may be needed if the pain does not resolve.

A break in the thigh bone just below the hip joint is considered a hip fracture. Falls are the most common cause of hip fractures. Additionally, trauma, osteoporosis or bone cancer can lead to hip fractures. The only treatment for a fractured hip is surgical stabilization and realignment to facilitate proper healing.

Pinched Nerves

Pinched nerves can cause hip pain. During aging the disc space between each spinal vertebra can become compressed and pinch the nerves that extend between each vertebra. In the lower spinal column pinched nerves cause pain to radiate into the hip and leg. Treatment begins conservatively with physical therapy, medications and rest, but can progress to surgical intervention if the pain continues.


The ball of the thigh bone in your hip bone is the most likely bone to be affected by a loss of blood supply. If blood flow to the hip bones becomes insufficient due to injury or corticosteroid overuse, your bone cells will die and lead to hip deformity and pain. Treatment depends on the extent of bone damage. Surgical bone grafts, bone realignment and prosthetic hip replacement are likely treatment options.

Bone Tumors

Tumors on or in your bones can cause hip pain. Pain, swelling and unexpected bone fractures can be symptoms of bone tumors. Most bone tumors are not cancerous, but the tumors replace healthy bone with diseased bone. Diseased bone is weakened and prone to fractures. Bone tumors can be surgically removed and fractures repaired. Cancerous bone tumors face a myriad of cancer treatment options.

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