Why Does My Hip Hurt? Causes of Hip Pain


In this Article:
Top 10 Common Causes of Hip Pain
Exercises to Ease Hip Pain
What Is a Hip Fracture?
Hip Fracture Treatments
When to Seek Medical Attention
Do I Need Surgery?
What to Expect if you Need Hip Surgery
Recovery After Hip Surgery
Who Is at Risk of a Broken Hip?
Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Hip
What is a Hip Pointer and How is it Treated?
Could my Pain be Cased by Hip Pointer?
What Happens with a Hip Pointer Injury?
Who Gets Hip Pointer Injuries?
How is a Hip Pointer Injury Treated?
When should I Seek Help for Treatment?
Is Hip Replacement Surgery for Me?
Hip Replacement Exercises for Right After Surgery


Top 10 Common Causes of Hip Pain

The hip bone is a very important part of the human body. After all, it is what allows us to stand, walk, run and dance! So, when you suffer from chronic hip pain, it can feel as though your entire life is being put on hold. You are no longer able to do the things that you once loved, and certain day-to-day activities can suddenly become impossible.

The first step to fighting your pain is figuring out its source. Read below and discover some of the most common causes of chronic hip pain.

  1. Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it affects around 27 million people every day. In the hip, osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to break down, allowing the bones to rub together. This results in stiffness, pain, and loss of movement.
  2. Bursitis – Bursa is the fluid-filled sac that works to reduce friction and cushion the points between the bones, tendons, and muscles. Bursa is located throughout the body, including the hips. When bursa become overworked or injured, it can cause a painful condition known as bursitis.
  3. Tendonitis – The tendons are a fibrous structure used to join the muscles to the bone. When the tendons in the hip become inflamed, irritated or swollen, it can cause immense pain. Tendinitis can be caused either by injury or overuse of the tendons. It also happens with age as the tendon loses it’s elasticity.
  4. Dislocation – The hip joint becomes dislocated when the ends of the bones become forced from their normal position. This results commonly after a blunt force trauma such as an automobile accident or sports injury. Hip dislocation is a very painful injury that can immobilize your hip joint, making walking near impossible. If you believe that you have dislocated your hip, seek medical attention at once.
  5. Hip Labral Tear – The rim of the socket of your hip joint is rimmed with a ring of cartilage called the labrum. The purpose of the labrum is to hold the ball of the thighbone firmly in the hip’s socket. Trauma, repetitive motions, and hereditary conditions can all cause painful tears in the labrum.
  6. Stress Fracture – Athletes who participate in high-impact sports such as running are particularly susceptible to stress fractures of the hip, although it can occur in falls as well.
  7. Muscle Strains – These types of injuries would include the notorious groin pull, as well as hamstring strains.
  8. Hip Fracture – Most common in elderly patients and particularly those with osteoporosis, hip fractures require surgeries to either replace the broken portion or repair using metal plate and screws.
  9. Osteonecrosis – a condition where an inadequate amount of blood flow reaches the bones, which nourish cells and the bone may causing the bone to collapse. A common place for osteonecrosis to occur is in the hip joint.

Exercises to Ease Hip Pain

Our hips are made to withstand a lot of weight, pressure and movement, but that doesn’t mean the hip joint is indestructible. As we age, the cartilage that serves as padding between our bones wears down and can become damaged. Repeated motion in sports or certain exercises can cause muscles and tendons in the hip to be overused. Falls or other injuries can result in hip fracture. All of these things can result in pain.

To ease this pain, here are some exercises to help.

  • Stretching – Starting your day by stretching helps wake up your muscles and prepare them for use all day long. Here are a couple of stretches that will specifically help with hip pain.
    • The Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and place your feet flat on the floor. Line your feet up with the width of your hips and strive to keep your knees aligned with your ankles, forming a straight line down your calf. Press down through your ankles and raise your buttocks up off the floor while keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Try not to arch your back. Hold the pose for three to five seconds, and then lower your buttocks back to the floor. Start with one set of 10 and build up to more as the stretch becomes easier.
    • Kneeling: Kneel on the leg that corresponds with the side of your hip that hurts. You may hold onto something for balance. Tilt your pelvis forward, tighten the muscles in your buttocks and lean away from the side of your hip causing you pain. This will stretch the muscles connecting your hip to your knee. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and repeat a few a times.
  • Thigh-Strengthening Exercises – Since your thighs support your hips, it’s important to keep them strong, especially if you’re prone to hip pain. Here are some ways to build up strength.
    • Inner Thighs: Lie on your back; put a ball between your knees and squeeze with your thighs. Choose a ball around the size of a kickball or volleyball and be sure it is not overfilled – it should give a little when squeezed. A hard or microfiber pillow could also work. Do a set of 10 and increase sets as you feel more comfortable.
    • Outer Thighs: Lie on the side of your body that is not causing you pain and lift the leg on the side that hurts six inches from the ground. Hold for a few seconds and lower your leg. If it is not too painful, repeat the exercise on the other side. Again, do a set of 10 and increase sets as you feel comfortable.
  • Low-Impact Exercises – High impact exercises like running or jumping can make hip pain worse but incorporating cardio into your routine is still important. Power walking and using an elliptical machine are good alternatives. Exercising in water is another great trick. The point is to minimize the amount of impact with which your feet are hitting the ground. While low impact exercises are easier on the body, they can be equally as effective in getting the heart pumping.

What Is a Hip Fracture?

A hip fracture is a severe injury that may impede your ability to walk. Most people fracture their hips at the upper part of the femur, where the thighbone meets the hip joint. The injury often requires surgery and physical therapy for one to make a full recovery. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of a broken hip and who is most at risk of the injury, here.

Hip Fracture Treatments

A fractured hip is a much more serious injury than just any broken bone. A hip fracture, especially in the elderly, can greatly hinder quality of life. If you believe you have fractured your hip, the best thing to do is seek immediate medical treatment.

At Coastal Orthopedics, our caring physicians are dedicated to helping you feel your best after your hip fracture. We know that when you or a loved one has fractured a hip, it can be a scary and confusing ordeal. However, the more informed you are about your treatment options, the sooner you can start the road to recovery.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you suspect that you may have fractured your hip, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. While women over the age of 65 are at the most risk, anyone can suffer a fractured hip. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your physician or dial 911 at once.

  • Severe pain from the hip or groin area – Inflammation or swelling in the hip
  • Bruising – Unable to put pressure or weight on leg
  • If you have recently suffered a fall or accident and are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Do I Need Surgery?

In most cases, surgery is the best way to fix a fractured hip. If you are in stable medical condition, most surgeons will want to operate 8 to 24 hours after you have come to the hospital. Delaying surgery will only add to your suffering and pain and increase the chance for infections and complication.

What to Expect if you Need Hip Surgery

When you first go to the hospital, your doctor will most likely need to do some imaging test to confirm diagnosis. This could mean either a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan.

After you are officially diagnosed, your doctor will schedule a surgery as soon as possible. If you have any other health problems, your doctor might delay your procedure and wait until you are in stable enough medical condition for surgery.

Recovery After Hip Surgery

After your surgery, your physician will work with you to customize a recovery plan that meets your needs. Every patient is different and so is every recovery rate. In most cases, you will stay in the hospital for around 4 days before being discharged to start your physical therapy. A rehab program is vital as it leads to a speedier recovery and reduces the need for a cane or walker.

The most important thing to remember after your surgery is to be patient. Recovery can be a long and challenging road and could take as long as a year. Even then, some patients may never be able to move around like they could before their hip fracture. The best thing to do is keep a positive outlook and not be discouraged.

Who Is at Risk of a Broken Hip?

While anyone can break their hip, these fractures are more common among women and the elderly, due to decreased bone density and strength. Here are some more factors that put one at greater risk of fracturing their hip:

  • Heredity. If your family members typically have a tall, thin frame or if any of them have fractured their hips before.
  • Lack of activity. Those who do not get enough exercise that bears weight on their hips (even something as simple as walking) may not have strong hip bones.
  • Improper nutrition. Calcium and vitamin D help our bones grow strong. Diets that lack these components may result in weak bones.
  • Arthritis. Those with arthritis typically have weakened bones, putting them at greater risk of a hip fracture.
  • Other medical conditions. Any conditions that cause dizziness or problems with balance may put one at greater risk of falling down, which can result in a broken hip.

Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Hip

The symptoms immediately associated with a hip fracture vary according to how the fracture occurred and where. Generally, it takes some kind of blunt force to the hip area – such as a fall – for the bone to fracture. Here are some common signs of a broken hip:

  • Not being able to walk or put weight on your leg after a fall
  • Severe pain in your hip or groin
  • Swelling or bruising on or near the hip
  • Leg on the side of injured hip appears shorter than the other
  • Leg on the side of injured hip is turned outward

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily indicate a hip fracture, but medical attention should be sought immediately. A doctor will need to X-Ray your hip to see if it is broken.

What is a Hip Pointer and How is it Treated?

A hip pointer injury is typically the result of a direct blow to or a hard fall on the iliac crest, i.e., the widest area at the top of the hip bone, or the greater trochanter – a bone that connects the hip to the thigh.

Individuals who are most prone to hip pointers are athletes and recreational participants of contact sports, such as hockey or football. Unfortunately, any physical activity where falls are common can also cause the injury, and individuals of all ages are potentially at risk.

When you experience sharp pain or difficulty walking immediately after the impact occurs, it is best to see a qualified hip pain specialist in order to ensure that you have not sustained a bone fracture. Although fractures are rare with this type of injury, they do happen on occasion!

Depending on the extent of your hip pointer injury, common treatment options are as follows:

  • Conservative treatment – The majority of hip pointers can be treated simply by keeping your weight off the affected leg and placing ice on the hip for 20 minutes daily. You might also consider over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to control pain. Total healing time typically spans one to two weeks.
  • Physical therapy – If symptoms do not diminish with conservative treatment in a timely manner, you may be required to attend physical therapy. This will typically involve an exercise program to improve hip strength and restore its natural range of motion. Regardless of the treatment plan best suited for your individual situation, it is important to avoid “powering through the pain” and continuing with your strenuous physical activity. This can lead not only to new injuries but also turn the existing acute injury into a chronic one.

Why subject yourself to the guesswork involved in hip pointer injuries when you can speak with a dedicated expert from Coastal Orthopedics Sports Medicine & Pain Management? As a top hip pain physician in Sarasota/Bradenton, we look forward to helping you restore and maintain your hip health for life.

Could my Pain be Caused by Hip Pointer?

A hip pointer is an extremely painful condition that is caused by a bone bruise to one of two bones near the hips. One of these bones is the most prominent feature of the pelvic bone, the iliac crest, which creates the widest point on the hips. Lower down the leg is the top of the femur, known as the greater trochanter. An impact to either of these locations can cause a hip pointer. This injury can happen to anyone, but those who play contact sports are most at risk.

What Happens with a Hip Pointer Injury?

Pain from a hip pointer injury results from damage to the soft tissues and bone in and around the iliac crest or greater trochanter. Patients with this condition may experience a sudden, sharp pain immediately after impact and problems with walking on the leg on the affected side. Rarely, bone fractures result from a hip pointer injury.

Who Gets Hip Pointer Injuries?

Most people who get hip pointer injuries engage in contact sports or activities where falls are common. Downhill skiing, skating, football, soccer, cycling and hockey are all sports where hip pointer injuries may occur.

Using hip pads in sports like football or hockey may lessen the chance of getting this type of injury, but not all sports or activities require the use of this protection. In those instances, athletes can avoid injury to their iliac crests by maintaining proper workout form during the sport and taking precautions not to fall

How is a Hip Pointer Injury Treated?

Though painful, most hip pointers will recover with time and rest. Using crutches or complete rest to keep weight off the affected leg helps the area to heal. Icing down the hip for 20 minutes at a time for the first week reduces any swelling at the site.

Those who suffer from a hip pointer injury usually only need over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications like ibuprofen to get relief from the pain. Those who have severe pain that does not get better after a couple of weeks of rest and ice should have the injury evaluated by an orthopedist.

The doctor may take x-rays or do an MRI to look for internal damage beyond simple bruising. Surgery is only rarely needed to correct a hip pointer, but some patients may require a doctor to drain fluid that builds up in the area.

When should I Seek Help for Treatment?

If hip pain comes on suddenly, or you know the trigger – such as a fall or injury – you should seek medical advice immediately. In addition, other signs such as popping noises in the joint or intense pain should persuade you into getting a second opinion rather than trying to live with it or walk it off.

Is Hip Replacement Surgery for Me?

The decision to go through with hip replacement surgery should be a joint decision made by you, your family, your primary physician and your orthopedic surgery team. Typically, this begins with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon, and then an initial evaluation is conducted.

There are no absolute age or weight restrictions for this surgery, and recommendations are based on patient’s pain and disability, not their age. It’s a serious surgery that should not be entered lightly. The doctors will review your medical history, conduct physical examinations, and perform x-rays and other tests such as MRI scans.

It’s important to speak with your orthopedic surgeons and have realistic expectations about your post-surgery life, the recovery time or the length of time that the hip replacement can last.

Hip Replacement Exercises for Right After Surgery

After hip replacement surgery, most patients are excited to get back to their normal routine. A hip replacement gives you a new lease on life! However, to make sure you get the most out of your hip replacement, you’ll want to start a regular exercise routine as soon as possible. Working with your doctor you will decide on a physical therapy plan to help speed up your recovery.

Returning to Normal Activity
The first question all patients ask after their hip replacement surgery is “when can I return to normal activity?” The key to a speedy and safe recovery is regular exercise. Proper exercise after surgery can help improve bone growth, muscle strength, cardiovascular health, balance and endurance. This means you can start enjoying life with your new hip sooner.

However, it’s important to know when it’s ok to start exercising, and to avoid doing too much too soon.

The First Three Weeks
The first three weeks after surgery are vital to your recovery. You will be working on getting your pain under control, but also performing exercises that focus on hip movement, standing and walking.

Goals for the End of Week 3
You should:

  1. Be able to get in and out of bed or a raised chair by yourself.
  2. Be able to go up and down stairs with the help of a cane.
  3. Be able to walk around your home while using a walker or cane.

For the first few weeks, most exercises you perform will either be lying down or sitting in a chair. You don’t want to put too much pressure or stress on your hip just yet. You’ll start off with low impact, simple stretches. These are done to help reduce swelling and lower your risk for blood clots.

These exercises will include:

  • Foot and Ankle Pump: Lay on your back with your feet elevated above your heart. You can use a pillow or a cushion to elevate your feet. Make sure your feet and ankles are dangling off the edge of the pillow so that they have free motion. You’ll then pump your ankle up and down, without moving your leg. You should repeat these 10 times every hour or as often as recommended by your physical therapist.
  • Knee Straightening: Recline on your bed and place a large pillow or cushion under your knee. Lift your foot up while you straighten your knee. Once your knee is completely straight, lower your leg down. Repeat these six to eight times.
  • Weight Shift: Stand upright, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Use your lower buttocks; shift your body weight from one leg to the other, keeping both feet on the floor at all times. This is a very small motion, you should not be moving too much.

These are just some of the exercises you may do after your hip replacement surgery. Your physical therapist will go over all of the exercises and stretches you should perform daily.
If you’re considering orthopedic surgery or experiencing pain that is interrupting your life, you should consider getting professional help from Coastal Orthopedics.

Learn more about the types of surgery we offer, request an appointment online , or call us at 941-792-1404 today.