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Hip Problems, Age 12 and Older

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Pelvic, groin, thigh, or knee pain (referred pain) may be present along with a sore, painful, or tender hip. Hip pain can have many causes.

  • Snapping pain on the outside of the hip and sometimes the knee may be caused by iliotibial band syndrome.
  • Pain in the hip, thigh, or knee of an older child or teen may be caused by conditions such as slipped capital femoral epiphysis, in which the upper end of the thighbone (femur) slips at the growth plate (epiphysis), or Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
  • Pain that is worse in the morning and improves during the day may be caused by bones rubbing together camera.gif, such as with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
  • Pain may be a sign of inflammation of the large sac that separates the hipbones from the muscles and tendons of the thighs and buttocks (trochanteric bursitis).
  • Pain can occur with signs of infection in a joint (septic arthritis), bursa (septic bursitis), or bone (osteomyelitis).
  • Pain and stiffening in the hip may be caused by lack of blood flow to the hip joint (avascular necrosis). Pain in the knee may also be present.
  • Pain that shoots down the leg from the hip or lower back may be caused by an irritated or pinched nerve (sciatica).
  • Pain with weight-bearing that gradually worsens over several months may be caused by transient osteoporosis. This is more common in middle-aged men but also can affect women in the later part of pregnancy (third trimester). Osteoporosis related to pregnancy usually goes away on its own within 12 months of delivery.
  • Some types of bone cancer (osteosarcomas) and the spread of cancer to the bone (metastatic disease) can cause bone pain.

Treatment for a hip problem depends on the location, type, and severity of the problem, as well as your age, general health, and activities (such as work, sports, hobbies). Treatment may include first aid measures; application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy; medicines; or surgery.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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