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The Board-Certified Doctors of Elite Pain Management can create individualized treatment plans to free you from the grips of pain.

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Hip Pain

Most of us have had hip pain at one point or another. In some cases, the pain comes and goes, but sometimes it’s persistent. Not all hip pain is equal, causes vary and so do the treatment options. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the hip pain you came to the right place.

Hip Pain Overview

Hip pain is a common complaint and a general term used to refer to pain and discomfort in the area of the hip joint. It’s not a single disease, but a symptom of multiple health conditions and it can be a result of an injury too. The exact location of pain provides a valuable insight into the underlying cause.

For example, pain on the outside of the hip joint, outer buttock, and upper thigh is usually a result of problems affecting muscles, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues surrounding this joint. On the flip side, problems within the joint induce pain on the inside area of groin and hip.

Causes and severity of hip pain vary which is why scheduling an appointment to see the doctor is the best way to manage the pain effectively. This is especially the case when the pain is persistent.

Hip Anatomy

To have a better understanding of hip pain, it’s useful to learn a thing or two about its anatomy. Hip is the joint located between the femur (thighbone) and the pelvis. Basically, femur and pelvis join to form the hip joint. Hip is a ball-and-socket joint meaning the femur’s round head rests in a cavity that enables free rotation of the limbi. While femur’s head comprises the ball, the socket is formed by the acetabulum.

The acetabulum is a deep and circular socket formed on the outer region of the pelvis by the union of three bones (ilium, ischium, and pubis). Joint capsule or the acetabulum provide stability to your hip while muscles and ligament ensure support.

The hip consists of bones, joints, ligaments of the joint capsule, muscles and tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Human hip is the largest weight-bearing joint in the body, and all its structures work together to allow us to move. Hip movements include flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, circumduction, and hip rotation.

How common is Hip Pain?

Hip pain is a common problem that affects different age groups including young population (0-15) as well as older individuals. The incidence of hip pain is higher among the older population. A study of 6596 adults ages 60 and older, published in the Journal of Family Practice, found that 14.3% of participants reported significant hip pain on most days over the past six weeks.

Women reported hip pain more frequently than men. The study also showed that 18.4% of Americans who hadn’t participated in physical activity during the previous month reported severe hip paini.

A study from the Rheumatology investigated the prevalence of hip and knee pain in 5500 Oxfordshire residents ages 65 and older. The findings revealed that 19.2% of participants reported hip painii.

Millions of people around the globe have hip pain. Bear in mind these studies only focused on whether subjects experienced hip pain in general, but the problem is a symptom of many health conditions.

Causes of Hip Pain

A person can have hip pain due to a wide array of causes each of them exhibiting different symptoms or intensity of the pain itself. Below, you can take a look at the most common reasons why people feel pain and discomfort in the hip area.


Arthritis is a term that refers to more than 100 conditions associated with pain in one or more joints. The underlying cause of arthritis depends on the type, but it ranges from degradation of cartilage-like in osteoarthritis to autoimmunity which is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Two most common types of arthritis are OA and RA. Osteoarthritis can affect hips and induce paini, but RA can also cause hip pain as well just like ankylosing spondylitis and fibromyalgia.

Hip fracture

Hip fracture is defined as a break in the upper quarter of femur. The extent of the break depends on the forces that are involved. Risk of hip fractures increases with age as bones lose their mineral density and become weak and brittle. Women are more prone to hip fractures than meni.


Bursitis hip is a painful condition that affects bursae, small fluid-filled sacs whose purpose is to cushion the bones, muscles, and tendons near joints. inflammation of bursae causes bursitis, and it can occur as a result of repetitive motions that put pressure on the bursae. Studies show that trochanteric bursitis is a common cause of hip paini. Trochanteric bursitis (bursitis hip) is inflammation of bursa at the outside point of the hip called greater trochanter.


Tendons are thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to the bone. Tendonitis occurs when tendons get inflamed. Although the condition can be a result of an injury in most cases, tendonitis stems from the repetition of a specific movement over time. Pain, tenderness, and mild swelling occur at the area where the tendon is inflamed, or in this case at the hip area.

Muscle or tendon strain

A person can get hip pain due to muscle or tendon strains. How? Repetitive motions and activities can strain muscles, tendons, and other hip structures. Overuse, overweight, and other factors can damage these structures and contribute to inflammation which leads to pain.

Hip labral tear

A hip labral tear is a damage to the labrum or cartilage that is located at the outside rim of the socket on your hip. Trauma, repetitive motions, and structural abnormalities can cause a labral tear hip. The problem is indicated by symptoms such as pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, and locking or clicking sensation in your hip joint.

Other causes of hip pain

Besides the above-mentioned problems and health conditions, hip pain can also occur due to:

  • Cancer
  • Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis) – a condition that occurs when blood flow to the hip bone slows, and the bone tissue dies.
  • Sciatica
  • Dislocation
  • Lupus
  • Osteoporosis

Risk factors for hip pain

While everyone can develop hip pain, some people are at a higher risk than others. Risk factors vary from one condition to another, but in most cases they are:

  • Overweight/obesity
  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history
  • Having past hip trauma

Symptoms of hip pain

Symptoms of hip pain, similarly to risk factors, depend on the underlying cause. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hip pain include ache and discomfort in:

  • Groin
  • Buttocks
  • Thigh
  • Outside of the joint
  • Inside of the joint

Persons with hip pain may also:

  • Limp
  • Experience a limited range of motion
  • Notice swelling in the hip
  • Feel the hip is tender
  • Experience difficulty sleeping on the hip
  • Have stiffness of the affected hip

How is hip pain diagnosed?

Don’t wait for the hip pain to go away on its own. Instead, schedule an appointment to see your doctor. The physician asks about symptoms, history, and carries out a physical exam. Since many conditions may cause hip pain, the doctor may order some tests to establish an accurate diagnosis. Some of these tests are X-ray, CT scan, and MRI.

Certain maneuvers such as rotating the hip internally and externally can help the doctor determine pain-aggravating positions. Straight leg raising can help diagnose sciatica, for example. Once the diagnosis is made, the doctor recommends an adequate treatment based on the condition and severity of the cause of hip pain.

Treatment options for hip pain

Treatment options for pain is best achieved through a combination of injection in conjunction with graded rehabilitative exercise. Individual programs may include a cortisone shot, regenerative medicine, PRP injection, PRP treatment or stem cell therapy which boosts the body’s natural ability to heal.

Hip pain can be managed effectively. There is no specific treatment option for all types of hip pain. The treatment depends on the underlying cause of the symptoms you experience. For example, some patients feel better with over-the-counter pain relievers while others need a prescription for pills that alleviate inflammation and pain at the same time. Physical therapy may be helpful for some patients too. Surgery is, in every case, the last resort and usually recommended when other treatment options don’t work.

Managing hip pain at home

There’s a lot you can do at home to manage hip pain, improve range of motion and quality of life. These tips can help you:

  • Rest – avoid repeated bending at the hip or putting direct pressure on the painful area
  • Ice and heat – warm compresses alleviate stiffness while cold packs relieve pain. In many cases, a combination of the two works best
  • Topical products – nowadays you can buy topical pain relievers that help you feel better for short-term
  • Exercise – rest is important, but it’s also crucial to avoid being sedentary all the time. When inactive for long periods pain can aggravate once you start moving. Low-impact exercises such as stretching can help you
  • Yoga and meditation – not only they are relaxing, but they can also alleviate paini
  • Consider losing weight and quitting smoking for a healthier life and pain prevention


Hip pain is a common problem that occurs due to a number of reasons. Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options vary from one condition to another. It’s important to practice a healthy lifestyle that involves regular exercise and weight management.

If your hip pain does not resolve after a brief period, contact us. so that we may help diagnose the problem and treat the underlying cause. Do not let pain persist or else it may become chronic.


We are Santa Ana & Newport Beach-based
top-rated pain management specialistsand experts in Sport & Spine Medicine.


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