Common Causes of Hip Pain

Types of Hip Pain

Hip pain has many causes. Some of the most common conditions causing hip pain include:


Osteoarthritis is the wearing away of the join cartilage and underlying bone over time. It causes pain and stiffness. People commonly have pain in the groin and thigh.  Often the pain is made worse with activities such as walking or putting on socks/shoes, or getting out of the car. The pain gradually gets worse and people often have decreased range of motion.  Treatments typically include anti-inflammatories, injections, and surgical intervention.

Hip Fractures

As we age the bones can become weak and brittle. Older individuals are susceptible to breaking a hip during normal everyday activities if their bones are weak due to osteoporosis. Treatment often consists of surgical intervention.


Bursitis is inflammation of any of the fluid-filled sacs protecting the body’s joints after an injury or due to overuse. Pain on the outer aspect of the hip may be a result of Trochanteric bursitis. People often experience pain when lying on the affected side, standing up, walking, climbing steps or driving.  Treatment typically consists of anti-inflammatories both oral and topical, injections and physical therapy.


Insufficient blood flow to bone can destroy bone cells, a process called osteonecrosis (also avascular or aseptic necrosis). There are many causes of this condition, but it is commonly caused by corticosteroid use to suppress the immune system for different medical conditions. The hip is the most common site affected by osteonecrosis. Treatment options are many and diverse. Early consultation with a hip expert is recommended.

Labral Tears

The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the rim of the socket portion of the hip joint.  In addition to cushioning the hip joint, the labrum also acts like a rubber seal to help hold the ball at the top of femur securely within the hip socket.  The labrum may become injured, torn and painful as a result of trauma, dislocation, or repetitive twisting movements.  Treatment may include non-steroidal antiinflammatories, physical therapy and activity modification/rest. If this fails, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be needed.


The tendons are thick bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Tendonitis is when the tendons become inflamed or irritated by repetitive and strenuous movement. This is a common sports injury related to overuse of the same parts of the body.  Treatment often includes activity modification, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy.


Strains are injury to muscle or tendon due to overuse or trauma. People may experience pain in the back but also discomfort in the hip.  Low back strains may a result of twisting, quickly turning injuring the muscles in that support the spine. The hip and back muscles may become strained due to weak abdominal muscles unable to provide additional support.  Treatment consists of anti-inflammatories, proper stretching, and physical therapy.

Lumbar Radiculopathy

Lumbar radiculopathy is when there is irritation or injury to nerve root in the lumbar region of the spine has been pinched. This may be a result of arthritis, herniated disc, trauma, repetitive movements.  People often experience pain in the lower back and hip that radiates down leg, numbness, or weakness. Treatment consists of anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, injections, and surgical intervention.

  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  •  American Medical Association
  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The Ohio State Medical Association
  • Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati