Hip pain: overview

Your hip joints are involved in almost every activity. Healthy hips allow effortless, pain free movement. When a hip joint is diseased or damaged, the pain and stiffness can limit your ability to move and prevent you from doing daily activities.

What is hip pain? 

Hip pain can affect adults and children. A diseased or damaged hip joint can lead to:

  • pain and discomfort
  • stiffness and restricted movement
  • limping
  • muscle weakness.

Hip pain may come on gradually. Pain may come and go or occur only when you do certain activities or movements. In some cases, the pain may last for longer periods and you notice it when you’re sitting, lying down or even sleeping.

What causes hip pain?

Common causes of joint damage and resulting hip pain include:

  • osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis and cause of hip pain
  • rheumatoid arthritis or other forms of inflammatory arthritis
  • birth defect or developmental conditions
  • injury or dislocation.

What can I do about hip pain?

Step 1: See your GP

If you have persistent pain and stiffness in and around your hip, make an appointment with your GP. Your GP will:

  • help diagnose, assess and monitor your symptoms using medical history, physical examination and imaging
  • suggest non-surgical treatment, such as medication, exercise, weight reduction.

Step 2: Try non-surgical treatment options

Your GP may recommend non-surgical treatment to help manage your pain. Treatments include:

  • Medication: paracetamol, anti-inflammatories
  • Exercise: walking, strength and resistance, water-based
  • Weight: weight loss and control
  • Therapy: physiotherapy, thermotherapy, acupuncture, TENS, self management
  • Walking aids or support: walking stick, frame, orthotic supports.

Step 3: Ask your GP for a referral

If non-surgical treatments don’t manage your pain effectively, your GP will refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for assessment. The GP will give you referral letter to take to Dr Boyle.