Hip Pain

Pain arising from the hip joint itself presents as pain in the groin or on the lateral (outside) aspect of the hip. If you have pain in the buttock area, it usually arises from the back and not the hip itself. Some cases of hip pathology present as knee pain and this is known as referred pain.

Hip Pain Causes

There are many causes of hip pain and they vary depending on the age of the patient, whether trauma was involved, associated medical problems, activity level of patient, etc. The common causes are :

  1. Trauma

    A fall, especially in elderly patients with soft osteoporotic bones can lead to hip fractures. Osteoporotic hip fractures require immediate attention.

  2. Sports Injuries

    Active athletes who participate in games such as soccer or cycling can present with injuries such as bursitis or groin strains.

  3. Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis)

    Like other joints that carry your weight, your hips may be at risk for “wear and tear” arthritis (osteoarthritis), the most common form of the disease. The smooth and glistening covering (articular cartilage) on the ends of your bones that helps your hip joint glide may wear thin.

    hip pain

    Image from AAOS.org


  4. Inflammatory Arthritis

    Arthritis literally means “inflammation of a joint.” In some forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, the inflammation arises because the smooth covering (articular cartilage) on the ends of bones wears away. In other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of a systemic disease. These occur because the body produces antibodies that attack its own joints (auto-antibodies). These diseases are considered the inflammatory arthritides.The three most common types of inflammatory arthritis that affect the hip are:

    • Rheumatoid Arthritis – a systemic disease of the immune system that usually affects multiple joints on both sides of the body at the same time
    • Ankylosing Spondylitis – a chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joint (the point where the spine meets the pelvic bone) that can also cause inflammation in other joints
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – an autoimmune disease in which the body harms its own healthy cells and tissues

Learning more about the hip anatomy to understand how your hip and legs function.


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