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Hip Pain

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Disease Process

The hip joint is made up of two parts: the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvis. The head (top) of the femur fits into a socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis.

The hip joint is surrounded by a joint capsule and ligaments, as well as bursa.

The hip is considered a weight-bearing joint and plays an important part in normal walking. Hip pain describes and pain in or around the hip joint. Hip related pain can also radiate down into the thigh or groin or up into the low back. Obesity can increase the chances of having hip pain. Causes

There are many reasons to feel pain in the hip. Some of the more common include:

  • Arthiritis
  • Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis)
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome
  • Muscle strains (most common are the hamstring and groin)
  • Hip fracture
  • Referred pain from the low back
  • Symptoms

    Depending on the specific cause of the hip pain, symptoms will vary, but may include:

    • Swelling of the joint.
    • Pain in or around the hip.
    • Loss of motion.
    You should contact the doctor if you are unsure of the cause of the symptoms or if you do not know how to treat the symptoms. Here are some common signs to watch for:
    • Inability to walk comfortably on the affected side
    • Injury that causes deformity around the joint
    • Hip pain that occurs at night or while resting
    • Hip pain that persists beyond a few days
    • Inability to bend the hip
    • Swelling of the hip or the thigh area
    • Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth
    • Any other unusual symptoms


    The doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical examination and probably order some tests to rule in our out certain injuries. You may receive an x-ray or an MRI.

    Current Treatment

    Depending on the exact cause of the hip pain, treatment will vary, but may include some or all of the following:

    • Rest
    • Ice or heat.
    • Stretching
    • Physical Therapy
    • NSAIDS (medication).
    • Cortisone injections
    • Surgery

    How Can Physical Therapy Help

    A physical therapist can help confirm the diagnosis made by the ordering provider. They will further evaluate the hip and contact the doctor as needed. Treatment may include some or all of the following:

    Patient Resources




Megan Hubbard, DPT © 2005   |  disclaimer   |