How Do You Treat Hip Joint Pain? Possible Causes Of Hip Joint Pain


Hip joint pain affects people of all ages, impacting daily life with symptoms like discomfort, stiffness, and reduced mobility, often centered in the hip, thigh, or groin. Common causes include arthritis and injuries. Diagnosis involves physical exams and imaging tests.

Treatment varies, ranging from physical therapy and pain medications to surgery in severe cases. Preventive measures include a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise to strengthen hip muscles, and avoiding overstraining the joint. Early detection and management are crucial for reducing symptoms and preventing further complications.

What Is Hip Joint Pain? Can I Live With Hip Pain?

Hip joint pain is when you feel aching or discomfort in your hip. It can sometimes spread to your thigh, buttock, or lower back. It can be either acute or chronic, and can significantly impact everyday tasks.

Possible Causes Of Hip Joint Pain

Symptoms And Causes Of Hip Joint Pain

Hip joint pain manifests itself through symptoms:

  • Persistent Pain: Persistent aches in the hip or groin region.
  • Stiffness: Difficulty moving the hip joint after rest.
  • Weakness:  Decreased strength was observed in both the hip area and leg.
  • Audible Clicks or Pops: Audible sounds during the movement of the hip

Multiple Factors Contribute To Hip Joint Pain

  • Injuries: Trauma, overuse, or falls can lead to hip pain.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae, which are sacs that provide cushioning for the hip joint.
  • Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons surrounding the hip joint.
  • Labral Tears: Damage to the cartilage ring, known as labrum, that lines the hip joint socket.
  • Structural Abnormalities: Hip dysplasia or congenital deformities can also contribute to hip pain.

Hip Joint Pain Associated With Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: This condition affects the joints and worsens over time. However, It can be handled effectually through lifestyle changes, medications, and physical therapy. While it is not curable, early intervention can lead to pain relief. Improved mobility.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Proper treatment with DMARDs and biologics can slow it and hinder the progress of arthritis. This results in long-term outcomes.

Diagnosis And Tests Of Hip Joint Pain

Diagnosing hip joint pain typically involves assessing medical history. It also involves doing a physical examination. Doctors also use various diagnostic tests. Here’s a detailed look at each step:

1. Medical History

  • The doctor will ask about the pain's onset, duration, and nature. They gather information about previous hip injuries, surgeries, and chronic conditions like arthritis.
  • Lifestyle and activity levels are discussed to identify potential contributing factors.

2. Physical Examination

  • The doctor examines the hip for tenderness, swelling, or deformity.
  • Range of motion tests are conducted to assess the mobility of the hip joint. - Gait analysis might be performed to observe how hip pain affects walking.
  • Muscle strength and reflexes around the hip area are also evaluated.

3. Imaging Tests

  • X-rays: These can show changes in the bone structure of the hip, like arthritis or fractures.
  • MRI Scans: MRIs are more detailed than X-rays. They can reveal soft tissue damage, including muscle, ligament, and cartilage injuries.
  • CT scans: They provide a detailed view of the bone and surrounding tissues. It is often used when X-rays don’t give enough information.
  • Ultrasound: It can visualize soft tissue structures around the hip. It can guide injections for pain relief or diagnosis.

4. Lab Tests

  • Blood tests may be ordered to check for signs of infection or inflammation. These could be contributing to hip pain. 
  • In certain cases, tests for specific autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis may be conducted.

5. Specialized Tests

  • Arthroscopy: In some cases, a minimally invasive procedure uses a camera inserted into the hip joint. It can be used for both diagnosis and treatment.
  • Bone Scans: These are less common but can help diagnose bone tumors or stress fractures.

6. Gait Analysis

  • In specialized labs, advanced gait analysis may be used. This is for cases where the pain is believed to be related to how the individual walks or runs.

7. Diagnostic Injections

  • Pain relief following a local anesthetic injection into the hip joint can confirm that the source of pain is within the joint itself.

Each of these diagnostic tools provides valuable information. They help the healthcare provider pinpoint the cause of hip pain. They then develop an appropriate treatment plan, and the choice of diagnostic methods depends on the suspected cause of the pain. It also depends on the individual’s overall health, age, and the symptoms they are experiencing.

Management And Treatment Of Hip Joint Pain

The approach for managing and treating hip pain varies depending on its cause and severity:

  • Conservative Measures: Resting can alleviate pain and improve the function of the hips. Undergoing physical therapy sessions can help improve hip function. Making lifestyle changes can also alleviate hip pain and improve function.
  • Medications: Your doctor may recommend inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain relievers, or corticosteroid injections.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercising can improve your hip muscle strength. It can also enhance flexibility and promote stability.
  • Surgery: Surgical options, like hip replacement or arthroscopy, may be necessary. Other treatments have not been successful in these cases.

Prevention Of Hip Joint Pain

While it may not be possible to prevent all instances of hip pain, some strategies can help reduce the risk:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: A healthy weight is important as excess weight can pressure the hip joint and increase the chances of pain and wear.
  • Regular Exercise: Swimming and cycling can strengthen your hip muscles. Improve joint stability.
  • Proper Posture and Body Mechanics: Maintaining posture and using body mechanics during daily activities can minimize stress on the hip joints.
  • Injury Prevention: Wearing protective gear in high-impact sports lowers hip injury risk. Being cautious helps prevent falls and accidents during sports activities.

Living With Hip Joint Pain

Hip pain can pose challenges that impact mobility, daily activities, and emotional well-being. It often manifests as movement issues, discomfort, and pain. Strategies for hip joint pain include medication, physical therapy, and emotional support.

Living With Hip Joint Pain

These approaches may involve assistive devices during therapy sessions. Making lifestyle adjustments like having a balanced diet and movement can aid. Staying in touch with healthcare professionals is important for long-term management. Despite the challenges posed by hip joint pain, many individuals manage to seek treatment and lead fulfilling lives. 


Responses to treatment and prognosis can vary significantly between individuals, and it is important to note this. To relieve hip joint pain, seek guidance from a healthcare expert. It is important to follow the recommended treatment plan they provide. 

Early intervention is crucial in improving prognosis and long-term hip health. Effective strategies and lifestyle adjustments also play a pivotal role. 

Final Thoughts

Hip joint pain can significantly impact a person’s life. Various conditions like arthritis or injuries, amongst other causes, can cause it.  The prognosis depends on factors such as the underlying cause and response to treatment. Living with this pain requires adaptation and adherence to medical advice.

Preventive measures, like maintaining a healthy weight, slight movement, and exercise, play a pivotal role. Many people face difficulties but still achieve satisfying lives. They focus on early help and good control for better results.


  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hip Bursitis ( Accessed 6/5/2023.
  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hip Strains ( Accessed 6/5/2023.
  3. Arthritis Foundation. Hip Injury ( Accessed 6/5/2023.
  4. National Library of Medicine (U.S.). Hip pain ( Accessed 6/5/2023.

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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