The most common cause of disability in the United States, joint pain is caused by many different conditions, including arthritis, sports-related injuries and common overuse of the affected joint.
Joints are the connections between bones and not only do they provide support, they help mobility. So, when a joint is damaged – whether from a disease or injury – the result is some degree of pain, affecting a person’s daily routine.
Your hip is the joint where your thigh bone meets your pelvis bone. Hip pain results from damage to the hip joint, a ball-and-socket joint that connects the ball-shaped top of the leg bone (femur) to the hip socket.
According to one national survey, one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the previous 30 days. Hip pain is one of the most common types of joint pain. Joint pain is more common as adults get older.
Acute hip pain can be caused by a variety of injuries or conditions, the most common being inflamed tendons, often caused by exercising too much. This can be very painful, but can heal in just a few days.
As the most common cause of long-term hip pain, arthritis causes pain, stiff and tender joints and difficulty walking.
Although there are more than 200 different types of arthritis, all involve damage to cartilage. Cartilage acts like a cushion for the bones and it covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. When the hip cartilage is damaged, bones rub together when an individual moves and this friction causes hip pain.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, often called “wear-and-tear” arthritis because it occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time. Osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world and symptoms can develop slowly and worsen over time.
Another major type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis that occurs when the body’s immune system does not work properly. Gout is another common type of arthritis and it occurs when there is an excess of uric acid in the tissues and blood.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can both cause hip pain.
When the bursa (a liquid-filled sac next to a joint) over the hip joint becomes inflamed, trochanteric bursitis can cause hip pain. Trochanteric bursitis can be caused by any number of factors: hip injury, overuse of joints, posture problems, or other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Hip fractures can cause very sudden, severe hip pain, and require immediate medical attention. A hip fracture may require surgery to correct.
Snapping hip syndrome (most commonly found in dancers and athletes) is recognized by a snapping sound or feeling in the hip when the individual is walking or getting up out of a chair. The condition is usually painless, but it can cause pain. Snapping hip with pain is usually a sign of a cartilage tear or fragments of material in the hip.
Osteonecrosis occurs when blood does not reach the bones, temporarily or permanently, resulting in a loss of bone tissue. Joint injury, heavy use of steroid medications and cancer treatments may put an individual at greater risk for this condition.
Read more about arthritis by visiting the Arthritis Foundation.
Read about joint pain prevention »
Read more about the treatment options available for hip pain in Houston at a Memorial Hermann Joint Center near you.
Read about nonsurgical treatments including medication and physical therapy.
Read about hip replacement surgery and find out if you're a candidate.