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Hip Pain

Hip pain and joint injury is common for all age groups. The hip joint and its integration with pelvis, SIJ and lumbar spine (lower back) make it a complex region to correctly analyse and assess any dysfunction.

Most cases of hip pain in adults are caused by osteoarthritis.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary greatly from person to person, but if it affects the hip it will typically cause:

  • mild inflammation of the tissues in and around the hip joint
  • damage to cartilage – the strong, smooth surface that lines the bones
  • bony growths (osteophytes) that develop around the edge of the hip joint

This can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty doing certain activities.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be eased with several different treatments and surgery is often not necessary.

Other causes of hip pain may be:

  • the bones of the hip rubbing together because they're abnormally shaped – a condition called femoroacetabular impingement
  • a tear in the ring of cartilage surrounding the socket of the hip joint – known as a hip labral tear
  • hip dysplasia – where the hip joint is the wrong shape or the hip socket is not in the correct position to completely cover and support the top of the leg bone
  • a hip fracture – this will cause sudden hip pain and is more common in older people with weaker bones
  • an infection in the bone or joint, such as septic arthritis or osteomyelitis – see your GP immediately if you have hip pain and fever
  • reduced blood flow to the hip joint, causing the bone to break down – a condition known as osteonecrosis
  • inflammation and swelling of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) over your hip joint – a condition called bursitis
  • a hamstring injury
  • an inflamed ligament in the thigh, often caused by too much running – known as ilio-tibial band syndrome, this is treated with rest (read more about sprains and strains)