Hip Joint Pain: What Are The Most Common Causes?

If you’ve ever seen a gymnast performing incredible feats that seem to defy nature, notably doing the splits with fluid ease, you’ll understand the strength and flexibility of the hip joint. Pain and damage to this joint are not as common as it is with other joints, as the hip joint is both strong and stable.

In fact, the design of the hip joint is nothing short of genius.

The ball-shaped end of the top of the thigh bone fits snugly into a hollow socket-shaped section of pelvis. This is held securely in place with powerful thigh muscles and strong tendons which secure this vital joint.  The hip joint is lubricated with synovium fluid which ensures healthy cartilage and ease of movement.

However, hip joint pain is an indicator that something is not working as it should and invites investigation.

Hip joint pain

Common Causes of Hip Joint Pain

Strenuous Exercise

Have you been to the gym or played a particularly strenuous round of sport? If so, and you are experiencing hip pain, then it’s very likely that you have strained a muscle or tendon, or in some way damaged the soft tissue around the hip joint. A little rest should do wonders for your hip joint, and perhaps encourage you to reduce your level of enthusiasm during your next workout.


Various forms of arthritis make up the most common causes of hip joint pain. Stiffness, reduced range, pain and inflammation result from a gradual breakdown of the cartilage in the hip joint. This, in turn, allows the bones within the socket to rub together and causing further inflammation and considerable pain.

Breaks and Fractures

As with those suffering from arthritis, ageing can also present us with weaker, brittle bones which are far more susceptible to breaks and fractures.

Hip Labral Tears

For those of us who engage in certain sports which include a measure of twisting of the hip area, a labral tear is a possibility. The labrum is a protective cushion of cartilage which serves to hold the ball and socket hip joint securely in place, but when damaged by repetitive twisting actions can cause significant discomfort.


Certain bone cancers can raise their ugly heads and cause hip joint pain as they attack the surrounding bones in the area.

Did you know:
‘Referred’ pain – that felt in the leg, groin or knee – may be symptoms of hip joint problems. 

Diagnosis of Hip Joint Pain

While the reason for your hip pain may be apparent, perhaps from a strenuous gym workout, continued pain and reduced range of motion should be investigated by a medical professional.

X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans or even blood tests may be required to determine exactly what the problem is in order for proper treatment to be administered.

In some cases, a visit to your local orthopaedic surgeon will answer all your questions and provide the best course of treatment to get you back on your feet.

When Should I Visit a Doctor?

With the hip joint being such a strong and resilient body part, it usually takes quite an impact or a serious illness to do significant damage. Therefore, if you are experiencing discomfort in the hip area, rest and prescribed anti-inflammatories or painkillers may be all you need.

However, if you find that the pain has not improved after 2 weeks, then a visit to your doctor is strongly advised.

Further, if you have had a fall, the pain is worsening instead of subsiding, or you are having trouble walking, sitting or standing without significant discomfort, then a visit to your doctor should be scheduled immediately.

The professional, dedicated staff at Health in Motion, with extensive experience in sports injuries and a family-friendly practice, will be happy to assist you to treat your hip joint pain effectively.

Call a practice near you.

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