Hip pain can deter physical activity and hamper even routine activities such as sleeping. The causes are many and may even start in other areas of the body, but there's no reason to just deal with it.

To understand common problems, it's important to know a few things about the hip. It is the body's largest ball and socket joint. The thighbone fits into a cup-shaped socket in the pelvis. Similar to the shoulder joint, the hip is more stable, but doesn't move as easily. The muscles in the buttocks, groin and spine, as well as tendons and ligaments, hold the joint together. A number of fluid filled sacs, called bursae, cushion and lubricate the joint and allow it to move easily. In addition, the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve passes through the hip joint from the pelvis and into the leg.

When things go awry with these parts, pain is often the result. Arthritis, bursitis, and spinal stenosis, actually a spine disorder, are some of the common causes of hip pain. If you are suffering with hip pain, there are a number of treatments that can help you feel much better.


Arthritis is a term that means inflammation of the joint. It is normally used to describe a condition where there is damage to the cartilage. In early stages, pain is due to the inflammation. Later on, when the cartilage is worn away, the friction of the joints causes the pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritic condition affecting the hip. It occurs when cartilage wears down and bone rubs against bone.

  • Pain: Front of the hip.
  • Symptoms: Pain when walking or groin pain radiating into the front of the thigh.
  • Possible treatments: Anti-inflammatory medication, behavior modification, and use of a cane or joint replacement.


When tendons in the hip rub directly against bone and the tendon becomes damaged. To protect the tendon, the body creates a fluid-filled sac, or bursa, which can become inflamed and cause pain.

  • Pain: Side of the hip.
  • Symptoms: Pain when sitting or lying on side.
  • Possible treatments: Rest, heat, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections or physical therapy.

Spinal Stenosis

As we age the cartilage disks between vertebrae in the back can flatten. When this happens, the bone forms spurs which can cause pressure on nerves that lead to the buttocks causing pain and muscle spasms.

  • Pain: Low back and/or buttocks.
  • Symptoms: Pain when sitting or walking or pain that radiates down to the knee or ankle.
  • Possible treatments: Rest, anti-inflammatory medication, spinal injections, physical therapy or surgery.

Get rid of the aches and pains

If you experience hip pain or another orthopedic concern, don't wait and hope the pain will go away on its own. Waiting doesn't help your health!

To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day.
For more information, visit Orthopedics & Joint Replacement.

Sources: ArthritisEducation.com, Health.Harvard.edu