Chronic Hip Pain

What is chronic hip pain?

Hip pain is a common complaint that can be caused by a wide variety of problems. The precise location of your hip pain can provide valuable clues about the underlying cause.

Problems within the hip joint itself tend to result in pain on the inside of your hip or your groin. Hip 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 can sometimes be caused by diseases and conditions in other areas of your body, such as your lower back. This type of pain is called referred pain.

What are the causes?

Hip pain may be caused by arthritis, injuries or other problems.

Arthritis

  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Septic arthritis

Injuries

  • Bursitis
  • Dislocation
  • Hip fracture
  • Hip labral tear
  • Inguinal hernia
  • Tendinitis

Pinched nerves

  • Meralgia paresthetica
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Sciatica

Cancer

  • Advanced (metastatic) cancer that has spread to the bones
  • Bone cancer
  • Leukemia

Other problems

  • Avascular necrosis
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (in children)
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Synovitis

What are the symptoms?

Depending on the condition that’s causing your hip pain, you might feel the discomfort in your:

  • Thigh
  • Inside of the hip joint
  • Groin
  • Outside of the hip joint
  • Buttocks

Sometimes pain from other areas of the body, such as the back or groin (from a hernia), can radiate to the hip.

You might notice that your pain gets worse with activity, especially if it’s caused by arthritis. Along with the pain, you might have reduced range of motion. Some people develop a limp from persistent hip pain.

What are the treatments?

If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as Motrin or Aleve.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatments also include prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate and sulfasalazine.

Another way to relieve hip pain is by holding ice to the area for about 15 minutes a few times a day. Try to rest the affected joint as much as possible until you feel better.

If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises, stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. For example, swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis. Physical therapy can also help increase your range of motion.

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