Experiencing Hip Pain? Learn How to Know When It’s Serious and When It’s Not
posted by Michael Carlson, MD | April 26, 2016
Hip pain is a common condition experienced by men and women of all ages. In some cases, this pain is a minor problem that can be relieved with at-home treatment. In other cases, however, hip pain can be a sign of a more serious condition that requires medical attention.
Hip pain may be felt in different locations, with each location corresponding to a different problem.
Outside of the hip. – Pain felt on the outside of the hip, the outer part of the buttock or the upper thigh often results from problems with tendons, ligaments or muscles around the hip.
Inside of the hip. – Pain felt on the inner part of the hip or in the groin is more likely to signify a problem with the hip joint itself, as opposed to problems with surrounding muscles or other soft tissues.
According to the National Institutes of Health, hip pain may result from a number of causes, including:
Chronic disease, such as osteoporosis
Fractures are another common cause of hip pain, especially among older adults. In fact, the CDC reports that at least 250,000 people over the age of 65 are hospitalized for hip fractures each year.
Not all types of hip pain necessitate a visit to the doctor. If your pain isn’t severe, you can try some at-home treatment measures before you make an appointment. Some examples of at-home treatments that may help you to feel better include:
Ice packs – Applying ice packs to your hip in 20-minute intervals may decrease inflammation and relieve pain.
Warm compresses – Warm compresses can loosen the muscles around the hip and reduce discomfort.
Over-the-counter pain relievers – Over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen, can also bring down swelling and relieve pain.
Resting the hip – Avoid putting pressure on your hip or overworking it while you wait for the injury to heal.
If at-home treatment measures don’t relieve the pain in your hip within one week, it’s time to see a doctor. You should also seek medical attention immediately if you experience intense pain, become unable to put weight on your hip or notice a sudden change in the appearance of your hip.
When you visit the doctor for hip pain, he or she will typically begin by performing a physical exam. In most cases, this exam will focus on your hip and the surrounding tissues. Be prepared to answer questions about how the pain feels and how it started. The doctor may also ask you whether you have tried any at-home treatments. If your doctor suspects an injury or structural problem, he or she may order an MRI or x-ray of the hip.
Depending on the outcome of the exam and any ordered tests, your doctor may:
Order physical therapy
Schedule further testing
Recommend a surgical procedure, such as hip replacement
If you are experiencing hip pain and would like to schedule an appointment with a physician, please contact Dr. Brady Barker to learn more.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.