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Most Common Causes of Hip Pain

Your hips are complex joints that keep you mobile. When these joints aren’t working like they should, it can be difficult to stay physically active and enjoy a high quality of life.

At the office of sports medicine specialist Carlos A. Uquillas, MD, you can get comprehensive diagnostic care to identify what’s wrong with your hips. Dr. Uquillas and our team uses the on-site technology to assess your hip joint function and ensure you get the personalized treatments you need.

If you have persistent hip pain but you’re not sure why, read more about some of the common causes of hip pain and how you can treat them.

Understanding your hip joint

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that includes the top of your thigh bone (femur) and the socket that is part of your pelvis. The femoral head, or ball at the top of your thigh bone, moves in the socket when you move your leg back and forth or side to side.

A protective cartilage that lines the ends of your joint bones helps ensure your hips move smoothly and without pain. There is also a strong piece of cartilage that keeps the hip joint in place and gives you such a wide range of motion.

5 reasons your hips hurt

When any of the structures in your hip joint aren’t working properly because of age-related changes or due to trauma, it can result in chronic hip pain and the loss of your mobility.

Some of the most common causes of persistent hip pain includes:


Osteoarthritis is a type of wear-and-tear arthritis that develops when the protective cartilage that covers your hip joint bones breaks down and wears away. Without this cartilage, your joint bones can rub together, creating friction, inflammation, and pain.

You might be at increased risk for osteoarthritis as you age, if you’re obese, or if you experience an injury in your hip joint from a fall or sports participation.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder that causes your body to attack otherwise healthy cartilage. This attack results in chronic inflammation and pain in your hip joint.

3. Bursitis

Bursitis describes inflammation in the small, fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning for the tendons, muscles, and bones near your hip joints.

Inflammation can result from repetitive movements of your hip joint or trauma. You can also develop bursitis if you have rheumatoid arthritis or an infection.

4. Tendonitis

Tendonitis occurs when the connective tissues between your bones and muscles become inflamed and painful.

You might be prone to tendonitis because of sports-related activities that require the repetitive movement of your hips.

5. Fractures

A fracture describes a break in a bone. A hip fracture can be a serious side effect of trauma. You might also develop stress fractures in your hip if you’re obese or have underlying conditions like osteoporosis.

Tips for managing and preventing hip pain

If you have mild hip pain after physical activity or when you put pressure on your hips, such as when sleeping at night, at-home exercises and physical therapy can help. Therapy helps you learn strengthening exercises to improve the health of the muscles that stabilize your joint.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers can also help control inflammation and keep you comfortable, so you can stay active.

If you have major damage to your hip joint from a fracture or osteoarthritis, Dr. Uquillas might recommend joint preservation surgery. This type of procedure uses minimally invasive techniques including hip arthroscopy to repair or replace part or all of your damaged joint.

You don’t have to live with chronic hip pain. Schedule a diagnostic evaluation today online or by calling the office of Carlos A. Uquillas, MD nearest you.

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