What Causes Hip Aches?

Susan Grindstaff

Hip aches are usually caused by injury or bruising. In addition, conditions such as bursitis, that directly affect bone and joint function, can also cause hip aches. Sometimes pain that radiates from the hip may actually be related to a totally different part of the skeleton, such as the spine. To determine the exact cause of hip aches, a doctor should probably be consulted. Sometimes x-rays are necessary to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain.

Inflammation of the hip joint is a possible cause of hip aches.
Inflammation of the hip joint is a possible cause of hip aches.

Bursae is the name of a substance in the body that acts as a cushion between bones and joints. It is soft, with a consistency much like that of gelatin. Sacs full of bursae are scattered throughout the skeleton of the human body, and when the sacs become inflamed, they typically cause pain in the joint area that has been affected. The inflammation is sometimes the result of injury, but often, it can be due to other conditions. Inflamed bursea is sometimes the cause of hip aches.

Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, can sometimes cause bursitis.
Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, can sometimes cause bursitis.

Bursitis is a condition believed to be caused by chronic inflammation of the bursae, and accounts for most hip aches not associated with injury. Hip bursitis is believed to be common in people who have one leg that is longer than the other, and those who have jobs or hobbies that result in overusing the hip joint. Sometimes hip bursitis may be caused by calcium deposits in hip joints. When these calcium deposits enlarge and harden, they are referred to as bone spurs.

Sometimes bursitis can indicate a more serious condition. For instance, bursitis is sometimes the result of certain types of spine disease, such as scoliosis. In some cases, hip aches that are caused by bursitis may have arthritis as the underlying cause.

Hip aches sometimes have no relationship to bone or joint function. In some cases, the pain is caused by strained or injured muscles near the hip area. Strains in groin muscles, for instance, can sometimes cause hip pain, as can muscle injury in the upper thigh.

Regardless of the cause, hip aches are typically treated with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or steroids. In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove calcium deposits or bone spurs. People who have bursitis are often instructed to change their lifestyles, and to try to avoid any activities that could worsen the condition. This is true especially if the hip bursitis is believed to be caused by overuse of the hip joint.

An X-ray may be necessary to pinpoint the exact cause of hip pain.
An X-ray may be necessary to pinpoint the exact cause of hip pain.

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