Dull or sharp. An aching or popping sensation. Stiffness or soreness. Pain when starting to walk, performing weight-bearing activities, or standing after sitting down for a long period of time.
No matter what kind of hip pain symptoms you’re experiencing, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are living with conditions and injuries that can cause hip pain.
Learning how to care for your pain is important, and probably the reason you’re here. After all, living with hip pain can:
- Make you avoid doing the things you love.
- Reduce the quality of your sleep.
- Negatively affect your mood, energy levels, and even relationships with others.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options for hip pain. How you and your healthcare team decide to manage your condition often depends on what’s causing your pain.
Common causes of hip pain
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common causes of hip pain. It’s also the most common form of arthritis. In the hip, OA can cause the cartilage surrounding and protecting the hip joint’s ball and socket to break down. When this happens, bone rubs against bone, which can cause pain and swelling. Patients with severe OA may benefit from hip replacement surgery.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. When someone has an autoimmune disease, their body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. In the case of RA, the body’s immune system destroys the cartilage covering the surface of the joints. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
In a healthy hip, the ball and socket of the hip joint are cushioned by cartilage, which is smooth and rubbery. Cartilage can be damaged by overuse or sudden injury, like a fall or accident. When the cartilage is damaged, it causes pain because the cushion between the ball and socket is gone.
A hip fracture is a break in the upper part of the thigh bone (femur). For someone with healthy bones, a fracture usually occurs after a traumatic event, like a car accident. But for people with weak bones or osteoporosis, a fall or a minor injury can cause a fracture.