What are Common Causes of Joint Pain in the Hips?

Nicole Long

Joint pain in the hips can be caused by a plethora of health issues. Common causes of joint pain in the hips include arthritis, injury, pinched nerves and a variety of specific diseases and health conditions. Hip joint pain can also be the cause — rather than the result — of injuries to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that help support the joint.

Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.
Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.

Hip joints consist of a ball-and-socket mechanism. The acetabulum of the pelvis acts as a socket and the head of the femur acts as the ball. This mechanism allows for a variety of movements, such as moving your legs and rotating your feet. Interference in the normal range of motion of the joint, excessive use of the joint, and injury to the joint itself all represent common causes of joint pain in the hips.

Severe cases of joint pain in the hip may require a hip replacement.
Severe cases of joint pain in the hip may require a hip replacement.

Joint pain in the hips is commonly felt in the groin and inner hip region. Pain that may affect the hip joint often can be felt along the outside of the hip, thigh and buttock regions. Such pain can be a result of injuries to the ligaments, though there also can be other causes.

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Various types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can hamper joint movement and result in pain within the hip joint itself. Arthritis occurs as the cartilage within the joint begins to wear down and provides less shock absorption within the joint. Arthritis can also result from disease.

Bursitis is also among the injuries responsible for some joint pain in the hips. This condition occurs when inflammation of a bursa — small cushioning pads within the joint — occurs. Resulting in a stiff, achy joint, bursitis occurs from repetitive use. Other injuries leading to hip joint pain include hip dislocations, sprains, strains and fractures.

Common ailments that may lead to hip joint pain as a result of pinched nerves include spinal stenosis and sciatica. Specifically, sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes injured from disk herniation or trauma such as a fall or car accident. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that results in a compressed spinal cord and nerves.

Hip joint pain can also occur as a result of disease. Diseases that may cause pain include osteoporosis and rickets. Cancer, particularly bone cancer and leukemia, can also lead to pain within the hip joint.

Inflammation and injury to the supporting structures of the hip joint can also result in inflammation and pain in the hip joint itself. This includes injuries and conditions related to the tendons and ligaments, such as ligament tears and tendinitis. While ligament tears frequently are the result of a specific injury, tendinitis more often is a result of overuse or repetitive strain on the affected tendon.

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