The essential guide to hip pain relief
what you need to know to make
your hips strong and healthy again
and help you get the care you need
to stop suffering
Solutions for chronic hip pain
What’s in this guide—
Everyone deserves to find hip pain relief.
People often associate aching hips with growing older, but you can feel debilitating stiffness and dull throbbing at any age (and for many different reasons). While the wear and tear from everyday life can increase your chances of experiencing chronic pain, you don’t have to accept it as part of aging.
There are ways to prevent and treat hip problems so you can get moving again and enjoy a better quality of life.
In this guide to hip pain relief, you’ll learn more about:
- What are possible causes of your hip soreness
- How doctors diagnose different hip conditions
- What are non-invasive ways to make your hips feel better
- How to know if you need hip replacement surgery
- Why you should choose Logansport Memorial Hospital for helping you find hip pain relief that lasts
Remember, you have a voice when it comes to getting hip pain relief, and we hope this guide helps you on that journey. Feel free to download and print the additional resources at the end of this guide to answer any other questions you may have.
What makes hips hurt
Different types of pain and what they might mean
Not all pain in your hips is created equal. Depending on the frequency, severity, and type of symptoms you’re experiencing, the causes and appropriate treatments can vary. To find hip pain relief, it’s essential to understand the differences and know when it’s time to get checked out.
Frequently asked questions about hip pain
What’s the difference between acute and chronic hip pain?
Acute pain is the pain you might experience temporarily after a traumatic hip injury like a car accident or fall. Chronic or persistent pain is more long-term and can indicate an underlying condition, such as runner’s hip or arthritis.
What does serious pain in your hips feel like?
Like any bodily pain, hip discomfort can range in severity, from a dull ache to a stabbing sensation. It typically originates in the groin area, where your leg meets your body. With some conditions, you might even feel a clicking or popping in that area.
When should I see a doctor about pain in my hip?
Consult a doctor about options for hip pain relief if you experience any of the following:
- You have difficulty reaching your feet to put on socks or shoes
- You cannot move or put weight on your hip
- Pain in your hips that prevents or hinders your daily activities
- You experience intense pain in your groin or buttocks
- You notice a sudden change of appearance in your hip (e.g., swelling, redness, deformity)
- Home remedies like ice compresses, heating pads, or over-the-counter medications have not provided hip pain relief within a week
Common causes of pain in your hips
Understanding what is causing your pain is the first step in finding the correct treatment or course of action so you can find hip pain relief. Not all discomfort is caused by an underlying hip condition or disease.
Sometimes other factors are to blame, like:
- Wear and tear over time (this is the most common)
- Old injuries
- Lack of exercise
- Doing exercises that put too much pressure on the hips
- Carrying excess weight
Hip arthritis is one of a few age-related or “wear and tear” hip conditions. It causes pain and stiffness in the hip and may make it difficult to bend over or rise from sitting. There’s no cure for this condition yet, but you can get hip pain relief and maintain an active life with early treatment.
Hip arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage between your pelvic bones wears away. When you move, these bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain.
Risk factors for hip arthritis include (but are not limited to):
- Advanced age
- Previous hip injury
- Family history of hip arthritis
In some cases, hip arthritis develops due to an improper formation of the hip at birth or developmental dysplasia of the hip. This arthritis pain can start either sharp or dull and usually worsens over time. Though you can make some lifestyle changes to find hip pain relief on your own, seeing a doctor is your best bet for making an accurate diagnosis and finding a solution that will address or relieve your pain.
With this condition, you might have:
- Difficulty reaching your feet to put on socks or shoes
- Pain that radiates to your buttocks or knee
- Stiffness that makes it hard to walk or bend
- Increased joint pain when it rains
- A grinding sound during movement of your hip
Bursae are small, jelly-like sacs that are located throughout the body, including in the hip. They contain a small amount of fluid and act as cushions to help reduce friction between bones and soft tissues. Bursitis is inflammation of these fluid-filled sacs. Trochanteric bursitis is the most common form of this condition, where the pain and tenderness you feel is around the bony point of your hip bone.
With trochanteric bursitis, you might also feel pain radiating out from your hip bone to your thigh or buttocks. It can start by feeling sharp and intense but gradually become more of an ache over time.
Soreness with trochanteric bursitis is usually worse when first getting up from a sitting position, walking up stairs, lying down on the affected side of the hip, or when you’ve completed a vigorous activity, like walking for a half hour or more.
Other things that can lead to trochanteric bursitis:
- Lack of exercising, especially stretching
- When one leg is significantly shorter than the other, affecting the way you walk
- Repetitive overuse or stress on the hip
- Diseases of the spine
- Calcium deposits or bone spurs
- Hip injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How pain in your hips is diagnosed
Doctors use a variety of methods to determine the origins of your pain. This gives them better insight into the causes and extent of your pain so that you can work together on an appropriate treatment plan for hip pain relief.
The physical exam will narrow down possibilities for the cause of your discomfort. During the exam, your doctor will ask about your personal and family health history. This helps them determine if you or someone in your family has a health condition associated with pain in the hips that could potentially put you at higher risk.
While examining you to develop a personalized, hip pain relief treatment plan, your doctor will also ask where the pain is located, how severe it is, and when it occurs. They may also touch your hip and ask you to move it in different ways.
Medical imaging tests
Your doctor may be able to diagnose your hip soreness from the physical exam alone. However, medical imaging tests, like X-rays or MRI scans, may sometimes be needed to get a better look.
An X-ray can show the growth of bone spurs or the loss of joint space. An MRI scan can reveal problems with tendons, bones, muscles, or the bursae. Your doctor may order one or both of these tests to reach a solid conclusion about what’s making you hurt so that they can recommend solutions that will help you find hip pain relief.
Lab tests and Injections
Your doctor may also perform a joint aspiration test, in which they take a sample of fluid from the hip joint to determine the best treatments to bring you hip pain relief. That’s because they use these tests to “see” what’s happening in your hip. Specifically, they’ll check if there is any infection in the fluid, and drawing the fluid sample may even alleviate swelling in the joint.
Injection of a corticosteroid along with a local anesthetic may also be helpful in relieving symptoms of hip pain. There are two kinds of injections—one is put straight into the hip joint, and the other is put into the hip bursae or jelly-filled sacs. To inject into the hip joint, a radiologist performs a short, image-guided procedure. An injection into the hip bursae is performed in the office. Your orthopedic surgeon can determine which type of injection may give you the best chance for pain relief.
An injection may provide temporary (months) or permanent relief. If your pain and inflammation return, additional injections may be needed. Any additional injections have to be given at least a few months apart, determined by your surgeon about what will be best for you. It is important to limit the number of injections you receive, as prolonged corticosteroid injections may damage the surrounding tissues.
Hip treatment options
Lifestyle changes and home remedies that aid in hip pain relief
With proper rest, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and by maintaining a healthy body weight, you can age-proof your hips and improve your overall joint health.
In some cases, your doctor may conclude that hip pain relief is possible with treatment at home. If recommended, those home remedies can include:
If you’ve been pushing your body too hard and that’s the reason your hip is hurting, finding hip pain relief might be as easy as keeping pressure off your hip for a while and minimizing any vigorous activities.
Therapeutic heat and icing
Gently applying a heat pad or an icepack can help alleviate your discomfort and help you get hip pain relief. You should only use an ice pack for twenty minutes or less, but you can apply a heat pad for as long as needed.
Gentle exercise or stretching
If your pain keeps you from moving as well as you once did, gentle exercises and stretching can help keep you active and obtain hip pain relief. Plan to exercise when your aches and stiffness are at a minimum. Stretching after a warm shower or bath is an excellent option as muscles are usually relaxed.
Medications to treat inflammation
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers might do the trick and provide hip pain relief if you’re hurting because of inflammation. Common examples include ibuprofen and naproxen, found in medications like Advil or Aleve.
If you’re carrying some excess weight but also need to take pressure off your hips, weight loss might help. Just losing a few pounds can be beneficial to hip pain relief.
When to consider hip surgery
Types of hip replacement procedures and what to expect
When non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, and you’re still struggling with pain, your doctor might recommend hip surgery. Your hip surgeon can do several different types of hip replacement procedures to provide hip pain relief.
The following are two of the most common operations your doctor may recommend when conservative treatments aren’t enough to give you back your mobility and stop your hip from hurting.
Hip replacement (total hip arthroplasty)
During a total hip arthroplasty procedure, a hip surgeon replaces a worn-out or damaged hip joint with an artificial ball-and-socket joint to make a new hip so that you can get hip pain relief.
Anterior hip replacement
An anterior hip replacement is a way of doing the procedure that approaches the hip joint from the front. Performing the procedure this way does less damage to muscles and other soft tissues, patients can typically experience less pain after surgery, and there is a reduced frequency of hip dislocation. Recovery is typically faster and easier, and you have to take fewer post-surgical precautions.
What to expect after having hip surgery
How quickly you recover after joint replacement surgery and find hip pain relief will depend on several factors, including which tissues were cut during surgery, your level of support at home, and what type of prosthetic hip you have.
Your doctor will typically prescribe pain medication to help during your recovery. As time goes on, you may need the medication less frequently and in smaller doses. After roughly 2-6 weeks, you may only need over-the-counter pain medications.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders to ensure you find hip pain relief and use medications safely when managing pain after surgery.
Physical therapy is minimal after hip replacement surgery. It is typically done in the hospital before you leave to go home, to show you how to sit, stand, walk, climb stairs, and safely move in other ways with your new hip joint. Repetitive physical therapy sessions are not typically recommended to help recover from a hip replacement.
Returning to your day-to-day routine
For the first two weeks or so after surgery, you may need some help with simple chores around the house. Before surgery, be sure to get a helper lined up, like a friend, spouse, family member, or someone you hire to lend a hand as you recover.
As you feel more hip pain relief post-surgery, you’ll gradually be able to move around and perform tasks around the house more easily, but remember that the timeline for performing certain activities will depend on your doctor or physical therapist’s advice. It takes an average of 6 weeks to recover enough to resume driving.
Returning to work
If you have a sedentary job, where you sit often or have limited amounts of physical activity, your surgeon may recommend going back to work after 6 weeks. If you have a job that is physically active and more labor-intensive, your surgeon may recommend waiting 3 months or more to go back to work safely.
Personalized care for hip pain
Where to go when you’re ready to get help
You don’t have to live with hip pain—relief is possible. With the proper treatment, you can get back to doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.
Get hip pain relief at Logansport Memorial Hospital
We’re passionate about providing patients with high-quality, personalized care—right here at home. Our experienced joint doctors will be with you every step of the way on your journey to hip pain relief.
Our orthopedic specialists can answer any questions you may have about treatment options for hip pain relief. Logansport Memorial Hospital also has experienced financial counselors available who can answer questions about insurance and costs.
Don’t let hip pain keep you from living your life to the fullest. We can help. Consult with one of our hip specialists to explore your options and pick a hip pain relief treatment plan that’s just right for you.
Call 574.722.2663 to make an appointment or request an appointment online »
Be sure to download the additional resources within and print a copy of this guide to help you answer questions about hip pain and treatment options.