Common Hip Pain Symptoms: What Do They Mean
Your hip supports the weight of your body and is one of your most active joints. Pain in your hip can keep you from living the life you want. In this guide, we go through different hip pain symptoms and what they mean.
Your hip is one of the largest joints in your body. It is a major weight-bearing joint that undergoes considerable stress during everyday activities like standing, walking, and running.1
The stresses placed upon your hip when you walk can be up to 5 times your body weight. If youre carrying a load, running, or climbing stairs, the stress on your hips is higher.2
Even if you do not lead a very active lifestyle, your hips undergo considerable strain during everyday tasks and occupational activities. Your hip joint is built to withstand stressors, but it is not indestructible. With age, the cartilage in the hip can become worn down. Hip bones may break due to a fall or injury. Muscles and tendons can be damaged due to overuse. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain symptoms. But if you are suffering from hip pain, how can you tell what might be causing your discomfort?
Looking for a solution to hip pain symptoms? Try the Injurymap exercise app now.
Medical Interventions For Hip Pain
In any case, the first course of action would be towards non-surgical interventions to manage any hip pain issue. Pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs will be initially prescribed. In some cases, your medications will include those that are needed to treat underlying conditions. For instance, antirheumatic drugs are given to manage rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, there are also patients who will do well with pain relief injections, such as corticosteroids, which are administered directly into the hip joint or surrounding tendons with the intent to maximise therapeutic outcomes.
Besides pharmacologic treatments, patients with hip joint pain may also do well with physical therapy and rehabilitation. These may include physical, aquatic, and posture therapies.
Besides the usual interventions, researchers studied other ways to manage pain. This includes treatments like nerve blocks, muscle relaxation therapy, acupressure, neurostimulation, gait retraining and traction.
I Feel Hip Pain From Running
Many athletes, especially runners, are plagued by hip pain. If you are a runner experiencing hip pain, it can be tricky to find out what exactly is causing your symptoms. Some of the common culprits of hip pain in runners include:7
- Hip flexor muscle strain: This can occur from one big injury or several small injuries over time. If you run on slick surfaces like snow, a backward pull can cause a hip flexor strain.
- Hip tendonitis: Inflammation of the psoas tendon is common in runners, especially after youve increased mileage, done uphill training, or done speed work.
- Hip bursitis: Pain on the outer side of the hip after activities like running can be due to greater trochanteric bursitis. This is an inflammation of a bursa in the hip.
- Stress fractures: High-impact activities like running place great force on the hip. This can lead to a stress fracture . The pain is usually felt in the groin or front of the hip. It is worse with running and goes away with rest. Medical care is critical for a stress fracture because without treatment it can lead to severe hip damage.8
- Hip osteoarthritis: Arthritis of the hip can cause persistent hip pain in runners, especially in older athletes. Wear and tear lead to a loss of cartilage, which in turn causes friction, pain, and inflammation in the hip.9
- Cartilage tears : Repetitive activities like running can cause the hip labrum to tear, leading to symptoms like pain and stiffness.9
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Rheumatoid Arthritis In Your Back
Is Stationary Bike Good For Arthritis Pain
And studies show cycling may help reduce arthritis symptoms: A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found both cycling exercise training and swimming significantly reduced joint pain, stiffness, and physical limitations, and enhanced quality of life in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis .
When Should I Seek Emergency Care
Contact your doctor if you have hip pain that lasts longer than a few days. They can come up with a plan to manage pain and treat your condition.
However, you should contact your doctor immediately if the hip is bleeding or you can see exposed bone or muscle, a popping noise occurs, or you cant bear weight.
Also, seek immediate help if your hip joint appears deformed or is swollen, or if you have severe pain.
Prompt medical attention is necessary for hip pain accompanied by any of the following:
These may be signs of serious conditions, including septic arthritis, which is a joint infection. If its left untreated, septic arthritis can lead to deformed joints and osteoarthritis.
For pain that could be related to a condition such as arthritis, your doctor will ask you a range of questions, including:
- Is the pain worse at a time of day?
- Does it affect your ability to walk?
- When did your symptoms first appear?
You may need to walk around to let your doctor observe the joint in motion. Theyll measure the motion in the normal and abnormal hip and compare the two.
To diagnose arthritis, your doctor will perform fluid and imaging tests. Fluid tests involve taking samples of blood, urine, and joint fluid for testing in a laboratory. Imaging tests may include:
The treatment of hip pain depends on the cause. For exercise-related pain, rest is usually enough to allow the hip to heal. This type of pain is typically gone within a few days.
Recommended Reading: Getting Rid Of Arthritis
Risk Factors For Hip Arthritis
- Age. The older you are, the more likely you have worn out the cartilage in your hip joint.
- Excess weight. Being overweight or obese puts additional stress on the hips.
- Injury. Severe injury, such as a hip fracture or labral tears, can cause arthritis years later.
- Overuse. Jobs and sports that require physically repetitive motions that place stress on the hip can increase risk for developing osteoarthritis.
- Gender. Women who are postmenopausal are more likely to develop hip osteoarthritis than men. Rheumatoid arthritis affects women more than men.
- Structural or developmental abnormalities. Irregularly shaped bones forming the hip joint, such as with hip dysplasia and impingement, can lead to abnormal stress on the cartilage.
- Autoimmune triggers. While the causes of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis remain unknown, triggers of autoimmune diseases are an area of active investigation. For example, infection is believed to be one of the triggers for psoriasis.
- Genetics. Certain autoimmune conditions that lead to hip arthritis may run in the family.
- Other health conditions. People with diabetes, high cholesterol, hemochromatosis and vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
Symptoms Of Hip Arthritis
Hip arthritis may cause any of the following symptoms:
- Hip pain thatâs worst in the morning.
- Hip pain that worsens after long periods of inactivity.
- A feeling of locking, sticking, grating, or grinding when moving the upper leg.
- Stiffness and inflexibility in the hip joint. May cause limping.
- Pain that starts from within the hip socket and radiates outward. It can be felt in the buttocks, groin, and thigh.
Osteoarthritis is the culmination of many years of joint deterioration. Age, obesity, and frequent strenuous activity all contribute to cartilage breakdown and can lead to the disease.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
Conditions With Similar Symptoms
A number of conditions that are not actually related to the hip joint can cause hip joint pain and symptoms in the “hip” area. These include:
Spinal stenosis This condition most commonly causes pain in the buttock, low back, and back of the upper thigh . Spinal stenos is a lower-back problem, not a hip problem. Spinal stenosis causes pain in the buttock area that some identify as part of the “hip.”
Greater trochanteric bursitisThis causes pain over the point of the hip . It also causes tenderness and sensitivity to pressure. Although this seems like a hip problem, it is a problem well away from the joint itself and is related to an inflammation in a lubrication point called a bursa. Greater trochanteric bersitis is not a joint problem .
Non-orthopedic conditionsVery occasionally, non-orthopedic conditions can cause pain in the groin that masquerades as hip joint symptoms ovarian cysts, hernias, and other intra-pelvic conditions can sometimes cause pain that is mistaken for hip joint pain.
Other types of arthritisOther forms of arthritis can cause similar symptoms to osteoarthritis of the hip in particular, post-traumatic arthritis and avascular necrosis are almost indistinguishable in many cases from osteoarthritis of the hip.
The diagnosis of osteoarthritis versus rheumatoid arthritis can be made by a physician with experience in treating conditions of this type.
Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
The bones in your spine are separated by spongy discs, which act as shock absorbers. With age, these discs can wear or shrink, which narrows the space between the spinal joints, or facet joints. The facet joints are a series of small joints in the lower back that contain the same type of cartilage that is found in your knees, explains Louw. Disc changes can lead to more strain on the joints, which can cause the cartilage to wear down and the facet joints in the vertebrae to rub against one another, leading to the pain and stiffness of OA. It is not uncommon for these joints to refer pain into the buttocks, especially with prolonged standing or even walking, says Louw.
Read Also: Does Arthritis Always Show Up In Blood Tests
What You Need To Know
- There are several types of hip arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis.
- The causes of hip arthritis vary depending on the type. The most common cause is age-related wear and tear in the hip joint.
- Symptoms of hip arthritis may include pain in or near the hip joint, stiffness, audible clicking sounds when moving the hip, and weakness.
- While hip arthritis is usually a chronic condition, there are treatments to help ease the symptoms and reduce further damage. If your quality of life suffers, surgery such as hip replacement can provide long-term relief.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Arthritis
For osteoarthritis of the hip, symptoms may include:
- aching pain in the groin area, outer thigh and buttocks
- joint stiffness
- reduced range of motion
In people who have hip osteoarthritis, walking and other motion that stresses the diseased hip cartilage usually increases pain symptoms and reduce a person’s ability to be active levels. At the same time, reduced activity not moving the body much can weaken the muscles that control the hip joint, which may make it even more difficult to perform daily activities.
Because of the loss of the gliding surfaces of the bone, people with arthritis may feel as though their hip is stiff and their motion is limited. Sometimes people actually feel a sense of catching, snapping or clicking within the hip. The pain is usually felt in the groin, but also may be felt on the side of the hip, the buttock and occasionally down into the knee. Activities such as walking long distances, standing for long periods of time or climbing stairs puts stress on the hip that generally makes arthritis pain worse.
In people who have rheumatoid arthritis in the hip, pain is usually worst after periods of rest and inactivity, such as first thing after waking up in the morning. This is because the inactivity causes the joints to stiffen. Pain is often relieved after a period of walking or other activity as the joint becomes more flexible. Some rheumatoid arthritis patients may experience pain, swelling, redness and warmth, especially in the morning.
Also Check: Can You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis In Your Back
What Causes Osteoarthritis Of The Hip Joint
The causes of osteoarthritis of the hip are not known. Factors that may contribute include joint injury, increasing age, and being overweight.
In addition, osteoarthritis can sometimes be caused by other factors:
- The joints may not have formed properly.
- There may be genetic defects in the cartilage.
- The person may be putting extra stress on their joints, either by being overweight or through activities that involve the hip.
Nonsurgical Treatments For Hip Arthritis
- Activity modifications may help reduce painful flare-ups. Avoid activities that aggravate hip arthritis, such as running, jumping and other high-impact exercises.
- Lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss, can help reduce stress on the hip joint.
- Physical therapy exercises can help improve strength in the hip. Engaging in low-impact exercises and activities, such as swimming and cycling, and remaining physically active are key to managing hip arthritis symptoms.
- Heating pads can help soothe inflammation in the hip.
- Medications and injections, such as corticosteroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, vitamin and mineral supplements, and immunosuppressive or biologic medicines can help control pain and inflammation. Which medications will work best depends on the type of arthritis.
- Walking aids such as a cane or walker provide support when walking.
You May Like: Ra Pain Relief
How Is Arthritis Or Degeneration Of The Hip Joint Diagnosed
In most cases, a diagnosis can be made by X-ray and a physical examination. Damage to the hip creates a narrowing of the space between the ball and socket. Eventually, the hip can lose so much cartilage that bone touches bone, which can be very painful. Some patients have a painful hip that is caused by other structural problems with the hip joint. These structural problems usually can be diagnosed with a physical examination and X-rays, but sometimes more advanced imaging, such as MRI, can help identify other pain causes.
What Is Arthritis Of The Hip
One of the most common causes of hip pain, arthritis is a wear and tear degenerative disorder that gets worse over time. Osteoarthritis the most common arthritis of the hip occurs when the cartilage within the hips ball-and-socket joint wears down. With less or no cartilage for cushion, the femoral head of the thigh bone rubs against the acetabular socket .
Less common, but still prevalent, is inflammatory arthritis of the hip. Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus erythematosus are the three types of inflammatory arthritis that affect the hip joint.
Also Check: Arthritis Attack Symptoms
Start With Conservative Hip Pain Treatment
When youre first diagnosed with hip arthritis, Dr. Bauman says, You want to try conservative measures before even considering surgery. These include:
- Activity modification
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil, Aleve, and ibuprofen
- Injections into the hip joint
- Physical therapy
Dr. Bauman adds, Weight loss is oftentimes helpful in alleviating some of the pain of hip arthritis because any loss is weight thats not going through your joint when you go up and down stairs. While losing weight may slow some of the effects, it wont reverse damage caused by arthritis.
While theres no evidence that physical therapy limits the progression of arthritis or delays the need for surgery, physical therapy can help maintain strength in muscles that support the joint.
Dr. Ryan Bauman talks about conservative, nonsurgical treatment measures for hip pain.
Surgical treatment methods are only considered after all nonsurgical options have been tried without success.
How Do I Treat Arthritis In The Hip
There is no magic cure for this. But there is a number of ways to reduce the pain, and take your lifestyle back.
- Exercise: Low impact strength training like aerobics or tai chi
- Weight loss: Aim to lose 5% within a 20-week period
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs
- Topical NSAIDs
- Opioid and narcotic analgesics *
Some physicians may suggest joint lavage and arthroscopic debridement. However, the medical community is divided on how effective either of these procedures may be.
The joint lavage comes from the French word for clean, and as you can imagine the procedure involves the cleaning and flushing of the joint with a sterile solution. Results have been mixed.
Whereas, arthroscopic debridement involves your surgeon removing loose tissue fragments from your hip joint. Again, results have been mixed.
Both procedures have been described as both a good short term solution to pain, as well as criticized as a mere placebo.
You May Like: Is Vicks Vaporub Good For Knee Pain
What Symptoms Relate To Hip Pain
If the pain is caused by osteoarthritis, other symptoms may include stiffness, tenderness if you push on the joint, a grating sensation in your joints, and muscle weakness.
A bone fracture may also have swelling, deformity, bruising or loss of function.
If the pain is caused by an infection, the area could be red, swollen and warm.
What Does Arthritis Of The Hip Feel Like
- Pain that develops slowly and is typically worse in the morning or with rainy weather
- Stiffness, reduced range of motion and difficulty walking and/or bending
- Locking, sticking or grating of the hip joint during walking or exercise
- Pain in the hip, thigh, buttock and groin, especially during vigorous activity
- Swelling of the hip
- Tenderness in the hip joint
- Pain severe enough to make walking difficult or cause a limp
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Arthritis In Hands
How Do You Handle Hip Pain
I am left with the choice of trying to adapt to this new pain. What do I mean by that? I mean that instead of trying to sleep on that side, I’ll need to lay on the other side. I have tried laying on my back but all I do is just lay there. It does not feel right to me so going to sleep on my back seems a no-go.
I have adapted to the back pain. I have learned over the years how to make it to where the back doesn’t bother me as much. Don’t get me wrong I do still have days that it bothers me. I do not ever want to give someone the idea that it is not a problem. As this is a new condition of psoriatic arthritis I am dealing with I have no idea of how to ease the pain.
If someone reading this is experiencing hip pain and has any suggestions, I am all ears.