What causes hip pain?

Injury, illness and inflammation can affect your hip and cause pain.


If you have persistent hip pain, an orthopedic expert can help you determine the problem and find the best treatment for pain relief.

Are you experiencing pain in your groin or on the inside of your leg?

If you are over 65 years of age and experience pain in the front of your thigh or in the area of your groin when you get into a car, sit or cross your legs, you may be suffering from osteoarthritis.

One of the most common causes of hip pain, osteoarthritis wears down the cartilage, which allows your hip bones slide smoothly over one another as you move. When your cartilage wears away, its cushioning effect is gone. The pain is caused as your thigh bone rubs directly on the bones of your hip socket. This friction causes the hip joint to become stiff and swollen.

Osteoporosis is another cause of hip problems. Osteoporosis is painless as it causes the bones of postmenopausal women and men older than 65 years of age to become weaker and weaker. However, the resulting hip fracture is quite painful. It can be debilitating. In some cases, a person suffering from a hip fracture will not recover.

If you are young and active, your hip pain may be caused by stress fractures. When your muscles are tired and you participate in high-impact sports like running or jumping, your bones absorb more of the impact. This can cause hairline fractures in your hip joint.

Bursitis can cause hip pain. Each joint in your body is surrounded by a fluid-filled sac called a bursae. When this sac becomes infected, it is known as bursitis. Bursitis can cause pain when you move.

Do you have hip pain on the outside of your leg?

Tendonitis can affect all of your joints, even your hips. Your tendons connect your bones and your muscles. Overworked tendons in your legs may cause pain on the outside of your hips.

Back strains and herniated or ruptured discs also may contribute to hip pain. Often back problems cause pain to radiate down the leg in the area of the hip.

An infection in the hip can affect people of all ages. It is most commonly seen in children whose immature immune systems cannot kill bacteria that enter a person’s bloodstream. Often these infections settle in the hip.

If you have hip pain that lasts more than a few days, or if you:

  • Have hip pain that keeps you awake at night
  • Have hip pain at rest
  • Cannot walk without limping
  • Cannot walk without pain
  • Cannot bend at the hip
  • Notice swelling and redness in your hip and upper thigh
  • Develop a fever or feel warmth in the area of the hip
  • Cannot move your leg
  • Notice your hip or leg looks abnormal
  • Cannot bear weight on your leg

You should make an appointment with an orthopedic clinician for diagnosis and treatment. Call (920) 996-3700 to be connected with an orthopedic specialist.

Acension Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center

Madison Center at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital
1531 S. Madison St.
4th floor
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 996-3700

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1506 S. Oneida St
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 738-2000

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