What are the Most Common Causes of Hip Muscle Pain?

Alex Paul

Two of the most common causes of hip muscle pain are strains and tendinitis. Strains often result in pain in the muscle itself, while tendinitis usually occurs in the muscle’s attachment to the hip. Snapping hip syndrome, which doesn’t always hurt, can cause sudden pain. Another common cause of hip muscle pain is bursitis, which occurs when a small sack of fluid becomes inflamed and rubs against a muscle.

Strain and tendinitis are common causes of hip muscle pain.
Strain and tendinitis are common causes of hip muscle pain.

One of the most common causes of hip muscle pain is a strain. When a muscle is overstretched, often during athletic activity, some of the fibers can become torn. This leads to localized inflammation, bruising, and pain. Muscles such as the iliopsoas, which crosses the front of the hip, and the groin muscles, which attach to the inside of the pelvis, are particularly likely to become strained. Strains to hip muscles are initially treated with rest and cold therapy, as this helps to reduce inflammation, followed by an exercise program to increase strength and flexibility.

Stretches that target the hips help restore flexibility.
Stretches that target the hips help restore flexibility.

Many muscles attach to a bone via a tendon. When this tendon becomes inflamed, a condition known as tendinitis, it can cause long-term hip muscle pain that’s difficult to treat. Tendinitis is often the result of repetitive strain to a muscle, but it can also be caused by a direct impact. Muscles which are commonly affected by this condition include the iliotibial band, which runs along the outside of the hip, and the iliopsoas.

Snapping hip syndrome is another potential cause of hip muscle pain. The primary symptom is a clicking or catching feeling in the hip during movement. Depending on which muscles are involved, it can occur on either the inside or outside of the hip. Some people experience snapping hip syndrome without pain, while others feel discomfort as the muscle snaps across the pelvis. Treatment for the condition usually involves rest, stretching of tight muscles, and sports massage.

Most joints in the body contain bursa, which are small sacks of fluid that help to lubricate the area. When a bursa becomes inflamed, instead of gliding smoothly over a muscle, it starts to catch and rub. This causes inflammation and pain, i.e., a condition known as bursitis. This type of hip muscle pain isn’t directly related to a muscle, but is often made worse if the hip is inflexible. There are several different bursa located in the hip, but the condition most commonly occurs on the outer side.

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