Ten Causes of Hip Joint Pain and How to Treat It

Ten Causes of Hip Joint Pain and How to Treat It

Whether you’re experiencing hip pain at night, during regular exercise or about your daily activities, having access to local and personalized orthopedic care is critical to getting back to pain-free living. At OrthoAspen, we help patients throughout the Roaring Fork Valley with world-class, sub-specialty orthopedic care. Our orthopedic specialists will help you understand the cause of your hip joint pain and the best treatment plan to get you back in motion.

Ten Hip Joint Pain Causes and Hip Pain Treatment Methods

With a community of road and mountain bikers, hikers, skiers and weekend warriors passionate about staying active, hip pain can lead to a frustrating and feisty change of plans. Let the orthopedic experts at OrthoAspen help you zero in on the cause of your hip pain. Whether it’s a sports-related injury, arthritis or another issue, OrthoAspen has a team dedicated to treating hip pain and associated symptoms. Take a look at ten common causes of hip joint pain and how they’re treated.

  1. Osteoarthritis of the Hip
    When the articular cartilage in the lining of the hip joint becomes damaged, the result is often hip joint pain. Pain often increases with activity and radiates to the buttocks or knee from the groin and/or thigh. Depending on the diagnosis, hip osteoarthritis may be treated with conservative methods such as anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, heat/cold therapy, special exercises that improve flexibility and muscle strengthening, along with lifestyle modifications. If, however, range of motion is severely diminished and daily activities have become difficult to perform, hip joint replacement surgery may be recommended.
  2. Trochanteric Bursitis
    When the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) of the hip become inflamed, trochanteric bursitis occurs. In addition to pain in the lower hip and groin, those with hip bursitis may also experience tenderness. Pain often worsens when pressure is applied to the hip or with physical activity. Rest, medication, physical therapy, corticosteroid/anti-inflammatory medications and applications of heat/ice are common non-surgical hip bursitis treatment options. In extreme cases, we may suggest surgical removal of the bursa.
  3. Conceptual rendering of hip pain in a male runner.Hip Labral Tear
    Often the result of a traumatic or sports-related injury, hip labral tears can produce mild to severe pain in the hip. Additional symptoms can include hip instability, clicking, locking or catching sensations during movement. Anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are typically recommended as non-surgical treatment methods for hip labral tears. More severe cases may require minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair the damaged labrum.
  4. Snapping Hip Syndrome
    Repetitive movement can result in tightness in the muscles and tendons that surround the hip, causing snapping hip syndrome. While producing audible hip snapping and popping, snapping hip syndrome can also be painful, especially with increased activity. A number of conservative methods can be utilized to help reduce pain associated with snapping hip syndrome. An orthopedic physician may suggest physical therapy, medication, corticosteroid injections, lifestyle/activity modification and application of ice to the affected area as non-surgical treatment methods. If these protocols do not prove successful in alleviating pain, hip arthroscopy or open surgery may be recommended.
  5. Hip Fractures
    Typically occurring in the upper part of the femur or thigh bone, hip fractures are more common in patients over the age of 65. Outer hip pain, combined with swelling, tenderness and difficulty/discomfort in hip rotation are some of the symptoms that a hip fracture can produce. External fixation, intramedullary fixation or plates/screws may be recommended to repair the fracture in surgical procedures.
  6. Femoroacetabular Impingement
    Excess friction in the hip joint can lead to bony irregularities, the result of which causes a reduced range of motion in the hip with a number of hip pain symptoms. Dull or sharp pain can occur in the groin in addition to the front, back or side of the hip. Hip pain, after walking or prolonged periods of rest, is often accompanied by a locking, clicking or catching sensation. While non-surgical treatments such as rest, medication, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections and activity modification may ease hip joint pain, surgical treatment may be required for more severe cases. Hip arthroscopy is the most common surgical intervention for hip impingement.
  7. Hip Strains
    Hip strains can happen at any time but more commonly occur during sports and physical activity. When the muscles that support the hip joint are overstretched or torn, a mild, moderate or severe strain can occur. To treat hip pain associated with muscle strain, an orthopedic doctor may prescribe hip pain exercises, heat therapy (soaking in a warm bath) and physical therapy. If muscle fibers have experienced a tear, surgery may be required.
  8. Transient Osteoporosis of the Hip
    Most common in women in the late stages of pregnancy and men between the ages of 30 and 60, transient osteoporosis of the hip occurs when the femoral head of the hip loses its density. Once the femoral head diminishes in strength and becomes more prone to breaking, an individual can feel abrupt pain in the hip. This pain can range from extreme to debilitating. Medication, physical therapy, walking aids to limit weight-bearing and Vitamin D are some of the conservative treatment methods recommended to treat transient osteoporosis of the hip.
  9. Inflammatory Arthritis of the Hip
    Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) are all types of inflammatory arthritis of the hip. When the joints become inflamed, pain in varying degrees can occur, becoming worse with activity or long periods of rest. To treat hip joint pain related to inflammatory arthritis, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, exercises and assistive devices may be prescribed. In severe cases, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend total hip replacement, bone grafts, core decompression to encourage blood flow or a synovectomy to remove part of the joint lining.
  10. Sciatica
    Often associated with lower back pain, sciatica, which results from a herniated disc in the spinal column, can also cause hip pain. Generally, sciatica pain can be dealt with conservatively. Heat and cold applications, rest, exercises and anti-inflammatory medications are most commonly prescribed. In severe cases, an orthopedic doctor may recommend surgical intervention.

Innovative Treatment You Can Trust

No matter the cause of hip joint pain, patients from Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and surrounding areas feel confident in the individualized orthopedic care they receive at OrthoAspen. Our practiced orthopedic physicians and surgeons utilize state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat a wide range of hip injuries and conditions.

Schedule an appointment to evaluate your hip pain or contact us today at 970-544-1289.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400