It supports our weight. It allows us to sit, walk, and run. There’s no doubt that the hip is one of the most crucial joints in our body.
For these very reasons—sooner or later—many people will deal with hip pain. Whether it’s a dull twinge that fades away as we get out of bed or more constant, sharp pain that interferes with our lives, the hip joint is prone to cause trouble.
However, if you know the main ailments that can trigger hip pain and their symptoms, you can start to work out the cause of hip pain…and get appropriate treatment.
What is it?
As we age, the hip joint can pay the price of supporting our weight through daily movement. It starts to deteriorate. Specifically, the cartilage that protects the bones at the point of contact starts to disappear, causing pain, grinding, and inflammation.
Symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include:
- Aching pain on the side or back of the hip, which is most noticeable when getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting for long periods
- Stiffness or limited range of motion in the hip
- Hip crunching, grinding, or popping sensations
- Difficulty with actions such as bending down or getting out of a car
- See a complete discussion of hip osteoarthritis symptoms.
What is it?
Hip bursitis occurs when the thin sac that covers the hip joint, the bursa, becomes inflamed and painful. This inflammation can happen as the result of a hip injury or an underlying problem, such as an irritated nerve in the back.
The symptoms of hip bursitis are similar enough to hip osteoarthritis that it is sometimes known as the “great mimicker.” But there are some distinct symptoms that indicate bursitis:
- Pain on the outside of the lower 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
- See a complete review of hip bursitis symptoms.
Muscle and other soft tissue injuries
What is it?
The hip is surrounded and crisscrossed by a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can be stretched or injured, causing hip pain. You can find out about the symptoms and causes of some of these injuries on the Sports-health website:
What is it?
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory condition that targets the joints. Often the first joint affected is the sacroiliac (SI) joint that connects the base of the spine to the pelvis, causing pain in the lower back and hips.
Watch: Ankylosing Spondylitis Video
The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can vary a lot from person to person, but these are some of the more common symptoms:
- Buttock, low back, or hip pain that can radiate down to the thigh
- Pain not related to an injury
- Pain in other joints, such as the knees, shoulders, or ankles
- Pain with inactivity or early morning pain, which sometimes involves early morning awakenings with severe pain
- See a complete review of ankylosing spondylitis symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis
What are they?
There are several types of systemic inflammatory arthritis, which cause the immune system to attack the joints and trigger inflammation. These systemic conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Both conditions can cause pain in the hips, among other joints.
- Pain and tenderness in the hips and/or other pairs of joints—they always cause symmetrical joint pain, meaning it affects both sides of the body at the same time
- Extensive stiffness in the morning that lasts even after getting up and moving around
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Read a complete list of symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Hip impingement (FAI)
What is it?
The ball and socket bones in the hip joint are designed to glide smoothly against each other, but sometimes bony growths can form, which interfere with the hip’s movement and cause pain. This is known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) or hip impingement.
- Pain in the groin area and sometimes outer hip
- Pain that becomes stabbing with motions such as twisting or squatting
Now, the good news: All of these hip problems are treatable.
Once hip disorders are correctly diagnosed, physicians can put together a treatment plan to alleviate pain and correct the condition (in the case of curable problems like bursitis or muscle strains) or slow down its progression (in the case of chronic conditions like arthritis).
If you have hip pain that’s ongoing or interfering with your everyday life, talk with your doctor and explain your symptoms, so the problem can be diagnosed and treated. Reading this article is a good first step!