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Pain Management Health Center

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Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment

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The hip joint is designed to withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint -- the body's largest -- fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.


Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket.

Despite its durability, the hip joint isn't indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. The hip bone itself can be fractured during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain.

If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of what might be causing your discomfort and how to get hip pain relief.

Causes of Hip Pain

Symptoms of Hip Pain

Depending on the condition that's causing your hip pain, you might feel the discomfort in your:

  • Thigh
  • Inside of the hip joint
  • Groin
  • Outside of the hip joint
  • Buttocks

Sometimes pain from other areas of the body, such as the back or groin (from a hernia), can radiate to the hip.

You might notice that your pain gets worse with activity, especially if it's caused by arthritis. Along with the pain, you might have reduced range of motion. Some people develop a limp from persistent hip pain.

Hip Pain Relief

If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as Motrin or Aleve.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatments also include prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate and sulfasalazine.

Another way to relieve hip pain is by holding ice to the area for about 15 minutes a few times a day. Try to rest the affected joint as much as possible until you feel better.

If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises, stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. For example, swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis. Physical therapy can also help increase your range of motion.

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