Common Causes of Hip Pain

Between sports injuries, repetitive stress, and degenerative conditions, hip pain affects people of all ages. Orthopedic specialist Andrew B. Richardson, MD, has years of experience helping people overcome hip pain. We create tailored treatments ranging from conservative medicine and physical therapy to regenerative medicine and advanced surgery.

No matter what causes your hip pain, the most important step you can take is to seek treatment. With early care, we can slow or reverse progressive degeneration that occurs when you keep using a damaged hip.

Arthritis is a leading cause of hip pain

Osteoarthritis is a top cause of hip pain and the most common type of arthritis affecting the hips. This type of arthritis develops as cartilage inside the joint wears down, causing pain, limiting your movement, and gradually causing inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another common cause of hip pain. This type of arthritis begins as inflammation that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes lining the joint.

Early arthritis management — including physical therapy and rehabilitation and injections of corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — goes a long way toward preserving your hip joint. But when the structures sustain significant damage or deformity, a hip replacement is often the best option.

Hip pain arises from damaged tissues

Pulled muscles, torn cartilage, fractures, and inflammatory conditions frequently cause hip pain. Though treatment for these problems begins with conservative therapies, you may need hip surgery when you have torn tendons and ligaments.

A few of the most common problems that result in hip pain include:

Hip strains

You can strain your hip muscles doing everyday activities, but in most cases, this problem occurs during athletic activities. Hip strains typically affect the flexor muscles, which flex your hip and lift your knees when you walk and run. Most patients feel pain in the front of their hip.


Bursa are fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between tissues. The hip joint, for example, has bursa that allow muscles, tendons, and ligaments to glide over the bones.

When bursa become inflamed, you have bursitis, a condition that often occurs due to an injury or repetitive movement. The most common type of hip bursitis, trochanteric bursitis, causes constant pain on the outside/lateral aspect of your hip.

Labral tear

Your hip socket is surrounded by a ring of cartilage called the labrum, which adds stability and holds the round thighbone in the joint. The labrum is susceptible to tears from trauma, repetitive movements, and structural abnormalities, and your risk is especially high if you engage in activities like ballet, ice hockey, football, golf, and soccer.

Hip fractures

More than 95% of all hip fractures occur in older adults when they fall. Young adults can also sustain a broken hip, but it takes high-energy trauma such as a car accident or falling from a significant height. At any age, a hip fracture is one of the few causes of hip pain that require prompt surgical treatment.

Causes of referred hip pain

You can experience pain in your hip even when the problem is outside the hip joint. Pain that originates in one area but is felt in another part of your body is called referred pain.

Referred hip pain often occurs if you have a pinched nerve in your lower back. Weak core or pelvic floor muscles and gynecological, urological, and gastrointestinal problems can also cause hip pain.

This problem also works in reverse: Problems in your hips may refer pain to your groin and thighs. One of the best examples is hip impingement.

Hip impingement occurs when abnormal bone growth develops in the hip joint. This makes the bones in the joint rub together, yet patients typically experience the pain in their groin. The pain may also radiate along your thigh or present in your buttocks.

When you have hip pain, Dr. Richardson accurately determines the cause and develops a customized treatment plan to ease the pain, strengthen the hip, and get you back to your normal activities. If you have questions about hip pain or need to schedule an appointment, call the office convenient to you or use our online booking system.

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