Hip Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention and Special Considerations for Children

The muscles of this part of the body form a vital link in the connective chain of the lower part of the body.

These are 17 muscles that provide balance, stability and range of motion for all your daily activities.

When one or more of these muscles are injured or tensed, the blast effect is significant.

The hip is a spherical joint that connects the leg with the torso of the body.

In the hip joint, the head of the femur (thigh bone) rotates inside the acetabulum, the alveolus, formed by pelvic bones.

While many causes of hip pain can arise from the joint itself, there are numerous structures that surround the hip that can also be a source of pain.

While overuse, a sudden fall or other injury can affect the flexibility of the hip, tense hip muscles are often due to lack of activity.

Sitting on a desk all day can cause a hardening and shortening of the muscles quickly.

The result of any of these factors causes the muscles of the hips to lack the proper range of motion and strength.

When the hip flexors become rigid and do not perform their functions normally, the lower back and the hamstrings have to compensate by doing the hip work of flexing and extending the leg and hip.

Strengthening the hip is as important as maintaining flexibility, to reduce the risk of injury and maintain long-term mobility.

In fact, reduced flexibility not only affects your ability to perform everyday tasks, but is one of the leading causes of injury.

Causes of hip pain

Like the spine, the hip is a vital part of your body, and this pain can have far-reaching negative effects on daily life.

Unfortunately, because we use our hips so regularly, they can easily become vulnerable, and hip pain can be caused by a wide variety of problems. Such as:

  • Arthritis: osteoarthritis is the most common cause of hip pain in people over 50 years, there are other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis , ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease ( Crohn’s diseaseor ulcerative colitis) ).
  • Bursitis : is an inflammation of the area of ​​the joint, the trochanterial bag is a sac on the outside of the hip that serves to protect the muscles and tendons when they cross the greater trochanter (a bony prominence in the femur).
  • A bone fracture or other injury, such as a fall or impact: bones may also be weakened due to other diseases that have affected the hip bones. A pathological hip fracture describes this situation and osteoporosis is only one cause.
  • Tendinitis: is an inflammation of the tendons. Hip tendinitis can occur when a muscle is used excessively and pulls on the tendon that attaches it to the bone. In the hips, the tendons play an important role by keeping the muscles attached to the thigh bone (femur) as the legs move.
  • Stretched or tense muscle: are muscle injuries, often as a result of physical activity, are common and can vary from minor to severe, depending on the incident. Most often they occur in the calf, thigh or groin.

Symptoms of hip pain

Each case of hip pain is different, and depending on the cause of your pain, you may experience it in different ways.

Hip pain can be a constant pain or short, sharp pain that only affects when you move the joint in certain ways.

In addition to feeling pain, if you have an injury or illness that damages functionality or hip, you may also experience:

  • Reduced mobility of the joint.
  • Difficulty putting weight on the injured leg.
  • Rigidity and spasms of the muscle that surrounds the joint.
  • Numbness in the hip area
  • Produce sounds when you move.

Hip pain can make it difficult to walk, stand or even sit in certain positions.

However, with proper exercises and treatment, mobility and comfort of the joint can be restored.

Treatments for hip pain

Medications to relieve pain, relieve inflammation, delay bone loss, modify the course of an inflammatory disease or prevent joint damage are an important part of the treatment for many hip problems.

The types of medications commonly used in the treatment of the hips are:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to help relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Topical preparations are also on the market, such as Voltaren Gel and Pennsaid.

Corticosteroids: these are fast-acting medications, they are used to control inflammation.

They are used if the inflammation of the hip is due to a systemic autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica or bursitis, the doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids or inject them directly into the inflamed joint or bursa.

Analgesics: Analgesics are among the most common medications for many forms of arthritis, including hip arthritis. They can also be used to relieve pain from hip injuries and surgery.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs : these are drugs that work slowly to modify the course of inflammatory disease, and may be useful for several different forms of hip arthritis that include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Drugs for gout: some drugs for gout are designed to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood to prevent future attacks of joint pain and inflammation.

Biological response modifiers: the last category of drugs used for rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory forms of hip arthritis are the biological agents that can be used in juvenile arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.

Medications for osteoporosis: medications for osteoporosis are those used to decrease bone loss or help the body develop new bone. Although not used specifically to treat hip problems, strong bones are less prone to fracture.

Certain medications, called bisphosphonates, in this category are also used to treat Paget’s disease of the bone, which, in rare cases, is a cause of pain in the hip.

In addition to medications, rest, heat and cold therapies, hip lift or physiotherapy, and hip replacement surgery reduce pain and provide many years of more comfortable movements.

During hip replacement surgery, damaged parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with an artificial implant or prosthesis.

Special considerations for children

Children who complain of pain in the leg or hip should be taken seriously and the pain should not be ignored. If the pain is persistent, if there is a limp, or if the child has a fever, you should contact a health professional.

Possible concerns in children with hip pain include:

  • A sliding upper femoral epiphysis, a condition in which the bone growth plate of the femoral head moves out of place.
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, or vascular necrosis of the femoral head.
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or Still’s disease.

If there is fever, there may be septic arthritis or an infection of the hip joint. This may be due to a virus or bacteria.

Symptoms include fever, pain, lameness and, sometimes, inability to walk.

Viral infections are the most common cause of synovitis in babies and resolve without treatment.


Prevention options include:

  1. Stretching and strengthening programs that help rehabilitate the injury are often the same ones that will help prevent it.
  2. Starting a sport without stretching is a risk of injury should ensure adequate warming before starting any exercise.

Every time the heel of the foot hits the ground, a shock wave travels through the body, all the way to the head. A healthy body will absorb this impact.

But if the feet are not in their correct operating position, more of this shock is allowed to move through the body to weaken other joints, including the hips and spine.

Healthy feet should be maintained, bows should be well supported and shoes should provide maximum shock absorption.