It supports our weight. It allows us to sit, walk, and run. The hip is one of the most crucial joints in our body, so when it causes you pain, it can be a big problem.

Your hip may be painfully stiff in the morning, ache only when you sit down, or cause sharp pain during a deep bend or squat. The symptoms provide clues about the underlying problem.

One of the most common causes of hip pain is osteoarthritis, but several other conditions can also cause hip pain.

Hip osteoarthritis

As we age, the hip joint can start to deteriorate due to osteoarthritis. The cartilage that covers and protects the bones at the point of contact can degenerate and disappear, causing friction, inflammation, and pain.

See What Is Hip Osteoarthritis?

Common symptoms of hip osteoarthritis

If you have hip osteoarthritis, you may notice:

  • Aching pain in the groin, the side or back of the hip
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion in the hip
  • Hip crunching, grinding, or popping sensations
  • Difficulty bending at the hip

Symptoms may be most noticeable in the morning or after sitting for a long period and worsen with activity.

Read more about Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms


Hip bursitis

Inflammation of a bursa near the hip joint causes hip bursitis. This condition may happen for a variety of reasons, such as an old injury or a low-back problem that affects the hip’s biomechanics.

See Hip (Trochanteric) Bursitis

Common symptoms of hip bursitis

If you have hip bursitis you may notice:

  • Pain on the side of the hip
  • Hip pain that is worse after repetitive activity, such as climbing stairs
  • Tenderness when pressure is applied to hip, which may make lying on your side uncomfortable

Hip bursitis can become chronic if you do not treat it and address the underlying cause.

Read more about Hip Bursitis Symptoms

Labral tear

The hip labrum is a ring of strong, flexible cartilage that rims the outer edge of the hip socket (acetabulum). It can fray and tear over time or be injured by acute trauma.

Read about Coping with Hip Labral Tears on

Common symptoms of a hip labral tear

If you have a labral tear, you may experience:

  • A constant, deep, dull ache in the groin, buttock and/or thigh when sitting down
  • Occasional, sharp, stinging pain that gets worse during activities, such as turning, walking, and running1Groh MM, Herrera J. A comprehensive review of hip labral tears. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2009;2(2):105-17.
  • Hip catching or locking that prevents a smooth range of motion

When asked to locate the pain, patients often make a “C” shape by cupping their hand around the side of the hip.

Read more about Hip Labral Tear Symptoms on

Hip impingement

Bony growths can develop on the bones that form the hip’s ball and socket. These growths can cause abnormal contact between the bones and affect the hip’s range of motion. This condition, known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) or hip impingement, can be painful.

Read more about Hip Impingement on

Common symptoms

If you have hip impingement you may feel:

  • Pain in the groin area and sometimes outer hip
  • Pain that becomes stabbing with motions such as twisting or squatting

Hip impingement may develop along with osteoarthritis, a labral tear, or both.

Read more about Hip Impingement Symptoms on

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Because it affects the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects the base of the spine to the pelvis, ankylosing spondylitis often causes pain in the lower back and/or hips.

See What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Common symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis

The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can vary a lot, but typically include one or more of the following:

  • Buttock, low back, or hip pain that can radiate down to the thigh
  • Pain in other joints, such as the knees, shoulders, or ankles
  • Joint pain and stiffness in the early morning, which may affect sleep
  • Fatigue or a general feeling of being unwell

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of systemic inflammatory arthritis that causes the immune system to attack the joints. Two other types of inflammatory arthritis that can cause joint pain, including hip pain, are rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Read more about Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms


Muscle and other soft tissue injuries

The hip is surrounded and crisscrossed by a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can be stretched or injured, causing hip pain.

Read about how Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Snapping Hip Syndrome can cause hip pain on

If pain in your hip is chronic and/or interfering with your everyday life, talk with your doctor and explain your symptoms, so the problem can be diagnosed.

Once a hip disorder is correctly diagnosed, a physician can put together a treatment plan to alleviate pain and correct the condition or slow down its progression.

Learn more:

Hip Osteoarthritis Causes and Risk Factors

Is My Hip Pain From Arthritis or Bursitis?

  • 1 Groh MM, Herrera J. A comprehensive review of hip labral tears. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2009;2(2):105-17.

Dr. Herman Botero is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic. He specializes in minimally invasive hip, knee, and partial knee replacements as well as revision surgeries and fracture care.