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What is Hip Pain?
Hip pain is common among older people due to arthritis, but it can occur in anyone at any age due to bone or tissue disease or injury to the hip or other areas of the body. No two cases of hip pain are identical, so the location of the hip pain provides the first clue as to the cause of the pain.
Symptoms of Hip Pain
Hip pain can be felt on the inside of the hip where it feels deep inside the groin. However, it can also be felt on the:
- Outside of the hip
- Upper thigh
- Outer buttocks
- Hip area but also affects nerves running down the leg
Pin in the hip can occur in one hip, or there may be hip pain on both sides. There may be pain in the hip when walking or hip pain when lifting a leg. The other two most common symptoms of hip conditions are:
- Pain that worsens with continued hip use or particular activities
- Pain felt while walking or doing activities like jogging
- Reduced range of motion in the hip
- Dull ache deep in the hip
- Ache on or around the hip
A person’s activities may cause hip pain too. For example, hip pain from running may be the result of joint overuse, leading to a medical condition like bursitis. The symptom is a dull ache, a popping sensation on the outside of the hip, and a burning feeling. Even people who must temporarily use crutches until an injury or surgical procedure heals can experience hip joint pain. The skeleton is meant to remain balanced, and crutches force people to flex at least one or both hips differently.
The hip pain can make it difficult to walk or enjoy normal activities, like sports or dancing. It is important to not ignore the pain and let the condition worsen.
Hip Pain Causes
What causes hip pain? Like many painful conditions, the actual medical issue may be a hip joint problem or another condition that affects the hip. In fact, referred pain in the hip is pain that is caused by a medical issue in another part of the body, like the lower back or a hernia in the groin. Sometimes, spine problems, like a pinched nerve, can cause pain in the hip.
Common causes of pain in the hip are arthritis or injuries. However, many other conditions can cause hip pain, including bone cancer, infection, and, as mentioned, joint overuse.
Problems with the hip can cause hip pain:
- Surrounding joint tissues
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When to See a Doctor?
Hip pain can be temporary when it is the result of a minor injury or strain due to overexertion. In these cases, taking an over-the-counter NSAID (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug), naproxen or ibuprofen could ease swelling and pain. Ice packs held against the hip several times a day and rest may help. Applying a warm pack is another option, depending on what is causing the pain.
If the pain is intense and unrelenting, it is important to see a doctor. Other symptoms or circumstances indicating a need to get medical help include:
- Hip pain that comes on suddenly
- Hip joint makes a cracking or popping noise after an injury
- Hip joint makes a cracking or popping noise more frequently
- Inability to move the hip or raise the leg
- Hip joint develops a deformity
- Inability to put weight on the hip
- Hip pain develops due to an injury and pain continues when it should be improving
- Hip pain is accompanied by leg pain
- Weakness in the hip and leg when trying to stand up or walk
One of the important points to keep in mind is that hip pain is treatable. First, the physician will make a hip pain diagnosis. The common diagnostic procedures include doing a CAT scan or MRI or taking x-rays. The physician will also order laboratory blood and/or joint fluid tests which can detect diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and gout or infection.
Quality of Life
Pain negatively impacts the quality of life. Medications and targeted exercises or physical therapy may be all it takes to reduce pain. Sometimes surgery is required, and in cases of severe arthritis or injury, a hip replacement is necessary. A hip pain doctor will evaluate the cause of hip pain and determine the appropriate course of treatment.
Find out more about other pain conditions:
- Back and Neck Pain Conditions
- Head Pain Conditions
- Shoulder and Arm Pain Conditions
- Knee Pain
- Foot and Leg Pain