Hip pain can be caused by a wide variety of things, and it’s not always easy to pinpoint the source. If your hip pain comes and goes, it might be due to:
- Arthritis or other degenerative joint conditions
- Sitting or standing for long periods
If your hip pain is severe or persistent, it’s essential to see a doctor so they can diagnose the problem and recommend treatment.
In many cases, simple lifestyle changes like stretching and strengthening exercises can help ease hip pain. However, if the pain is caused by arthritis or another serious condition, you may need medication or surgery.
Also, hip pain can get worse during the night for many people due to inactivity during sleep. If your pain is keeping you up at night, it’s important to talk to your doctor so they can help you find relief.
That said, let’s dive into more details and discuss each section one by one.
Arthritis or Other Degenerative Joint Conditions
Arthritis is a common cause of hip pain, especially in older adults. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common form that affects the hip is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage that cushions the joints breaks down over time. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the joints.
Other degenerative joint conditions that can cause hip pain include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. These conditions are less common than osteoarthritis, but they can still occur.
Bursitis is another condition that can cause hip pain. It happens when the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the joints become irritated or inflamed.
This condition is often caused by overuse, injury, or repetitive motions. It can also be caused by arthritis or other degenerative joint conditions.
Injury is a common cause of hip pain, especially in young adults and athletes. The most common injuries that affect the hip are:
- Hip contusion: A hip contusion is a bruise on the hip. It’s often caused by a direct blow to the hip, such as a fall or car accident.
- Hip pointer: A hip pointer is an injury to the iliac crest, which is the bone at the top of the hip. It’s often caused by a direct blow to the area, such as a fall or car accident.
- Hip flexor strain: The hip flexors are a group of muscles that help you lift your knee toward your chest. A hip flexor strain is an injury to one or more of these muscles. It’s often caused by overuse or sudden, intense activity.
- Groin strain: A groin strain is an injury to the muscles in the groin area. It can be caused by overuse, sudden activity, or a direct blow to the site.
Sitting or Standing for Long Periods
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you’re at risk of developing hip pain. That’s because sitting or standing for long periods can put extra strain on the joints and muscles in the hip.
This is especially true if you have poor posture or if you sit or stand with your weight shifted to one side. Over time, this can lead to pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the hip.
Overuse is another common cause of hip pain, especially in athletes and young adults. This occurs when the joints and muscles in the hip are repeatedly used beyond their capacity.
This can lead to inflammation, irritation, and eventually pain in the joints and muscles. Overuse injuries are often caused by:
- Playing a sport without proper warm-up or cooling-down exercises
- Using poor form when exercising
- Not giving the muscles and joints time to rest and recover after exercise
Pregnancy can also cause hip pain in some women. This is due to the extra weight that’s placed on the joints and muscles during pregnancy.
Additionally, the hormones released during pregnancy can loosen the ligaments and joints, which can lead to instability and pain.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle. It’s often seen in older adults, but it can occur at any age.
If you have osteoporosis, you’re at risk of developing hip pain. That’s because the weakened bones in the hip are more likely to break or fracture.
How is Hip Pain Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. They’ll also perform a physical exam to look for signs of hip pain.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans, may also be ordered to further evaluate the cause of your hip pain.
Treatment for Hip Pain
The treatment for hip pain will depend on the underlying cause. For example, if the pain is caused by arthritis, treatment may include:
- Weight loss: Losing weight can help reduce the stress on the joints and decrease pain.
- Exercise: Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve the range of motion.
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve pain.
- Prescription medications: If over-the-counter medications don’t work, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications, such as opioids.
- Injections: Steroid injections can help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged joint.
If a muscle strain causes the pain, treatment may include:
- Rest: It’s important to rest the muscles and allow them time to heal.
- Ice: Applying ice to the area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Heat: Applying heat to the area can help relax the muscles and improve blood flow.
- Stretching: Gently stretching the muscles can help reduce pain and stiffness.
- Massage: Massaging the muscles can help reduce pain and stiffness.
Prevention of Hip Pain
There are several things you can do to prevent hip pain, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: This can help reduce the stress on the joints.
- Exercising regularly: This can help strengthen the muscles and improve the range of motion.
- Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes: This can help reduce strain on the joints.
- Using proper form when exercising: This can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
- Giving the muscles and joints time to rest and recover: This can help prevent overuse injuries.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!