Why does the hip joint hurt: causes and consequences

One of the largest joint structures in the body is the hip joint. Every day it is subjected to a significant load equal to the weight of the body. The specific structure of the joint allows it to move in different directions, maintain balance in a standing position, and also provides a person with an upright gait. Like any other, the hip joint can be damaged due to mechanical injuries and hurts due to inflammatory processes. In this case, the functioning of the joint is impaired, it is difficult for the patient to move, and constant sensations of pain significantly complicate life.

The reasons

The causes of hip pain are very extensive. These can be injuries of different etiology, systemic pathologies due to a malfunction in the immune system, past infections, joint diseases.

It is noted that the symptoms of inflammation of the hip joint are often found in women over 50 years old due to poor absorption of calcium in the body and age-related changes in cartilage tissue.

The situation when the left or right hip joint periodically hurts should alert the patient. Timely diagnosis and adequately selected treatment can cure the disease of the hip joints without negative consequences.

Let's analyze in detail why there may be pain in the hip joint and what is accomplished later.

Traumatic causes

Trauma is the most common cause of loss of hip joint integrity. At risk are athletes who are subjected to serious physical exertion, elderly people with fragile bones, in which, due to age, cartilage tissues do not have time to recover. Also, a similar injury can occur as a result of a car accident, a work accident.

Traumatic causes of pain syndrome include:

  1. Congenital hip dislocation. It is formed as a result of a difficult birth or is a deviation in the intrauterine development of the fetus. The anomaly is easily detected in newborns and with timely treatment passes without complications for the child.
  2. Hip dislocation after injury. In a luxation, the head of the femur falls completely out of the acetabulum. Symptoms are acute severe pain, inability to move a limb and sit. The area around the joint swells, a bruise forms. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention.
  3. Hip subluxation. Partial contact is maintained between the femoral head and the acetabulum. The victim experiences moderate pain, there are certain limitations in movement, but the discomfort is present all the time.
  4. Fracture of the neck of the femur. The pathology is often diagnosed in women when they reach the age of 60. The neck of the femur can be damaged after a fall or a strong impact. Immediately at the time of injury, the victim feels sharp and severe pain, which increases when he tries to move. The pain can also radiate to the inner thigh. Swelling and hematoma are symptoms that occur locally in the thigh area. The fractured limb is shortened, the patient limps, and the joint makes a clicking sound when walking. Also, as a result of the injury, the nerve endings are compressed and the leg becomes numb.
  5. Hip injury. The pain syndrome is moderately expressed, but becomes more intense with fast movement. Symptoms disappear when the limb is at rest.

The treatment of such pathologies is carried out by a traumatologist.

Systemic diseases

The hip joint can hurt due to systemic diseases of the connective tissue. Unfortunately, systemic pathologies are practically incurable, so therapeutic measures are carried out constantly. The treatment of hip joint disease caused by systemic organic changes is complex and is aimed at eliminating not only the symptoms, but also the causes of discomfort.

Some pathologies can cause various painful sensations in the femur area:

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis. The pain is dull, stronger at night. It is most often located in the sacrum or pelvis, but it can also be applied to the groin, knee, thighs. When walking, the patient feels stiffness of movements. An inflammatory process forms in the intra-articular space, so do not hesitate to visit a specialist.
  2. Reiter's syndrome. It is an autoimmune disease that occurs with infectious diseases of the intestines. With this pathology, the joints, organs of the genitourinary system are affected, the conjunctiva of the eye becomes inflamed. The process of destruction of intra-articular structures begins a few weeks after the development of the disease. Reiter's syndrome is accompanied by acute pain and swelling in the thigh bone, fever. Often the disease affects both joints.
  3. Rheumatoid arthritis. This pathology consists in inflammation of the connective tissue without the formation of purulent contents. This disease is a precursor to a more serious disease - coxarthrosis of the hip joint. The disease progresses slowly and gradually. First, there is swelling in the pelvic area, there are unpleasant sensations when walking. An inflammatory process begins in the intra-articular space, which provokes an increase in local and general body temperature. In addition, movements become restricted in any position, including at rest. As the disease progresses, the left and right joints are affected, the nerve fibers are compressed, the legs become numb and lose sensitivity. In addition, the blood supply in the pelvic area is disturbed, which is fraught with tissue necrosis.

Degenerative changes

Often the hip joint starts to hurt due to degenerative changes in the joint structures. Such changes occur due to advanced age, periodic trauma, prolonged physical exertion and hereditary factors.

Symptoms of hip pain can be caused by the following diseases:

  1. Epiphyseal varus deformity. It often occurs in teenagers during a period of intense bone growth. The pain is dull, pulling, becomes more intense during running or sports.
  2. arthrosis. Perhaps the most common disease of all joint diseases. It occurs with equal frequency in both men and women. The essence of the pathology is destructive changes in the joint. The disease goes through several stages in its development. In the initial stages, the patient feels pain after a long walk, jogging, which disappears at rest. The second stage is characterized by increased pain during movement, lameness occurs, the joint snaps. In the final stage, the pain no longer disappears and becomes very strong, the muscle fibers lose their tone. Without proper treatment, lameness can become permanent. The treatment of this disease is long and complicated.
  3. Arthritis of the hip joint. The disease inherent in the elderly is inflammation of the joint structures. In this case, the patient experiences pain in the leg, in the inguinal region and even in the ankle. If the patient wants to get up from a sitting position, then this experience is accompanied by a sharp shooting pain.

Inflammation and infection

Necrosis of the femoral head - cause of intense pain in the hip joint

It is not always only damage to the bones themselves that causes the hip joint to start to hurt. Inflammatory processes in the muscle tissue, tendons and periarticular bag can provoke discomfort.

Variants of inflammatory diseases:

  1. Purulent arthritis. It manifests itself with increased body temperature, redness of the skin in the area of the affected joint, severe swelling and acute pain. Any movements become unbearable, not to mention more serious loads. The disease is fraught with the development of sepsis, so treatment must be urgent.
  2. Necrosis of the femoral head. The disease mainly affects young men. Necrosis develops as a result of cell death due to insufficient blood supply to the thigh. The patient will feel a strong sharp pain, burning in the affected area. The pain syndrome is so strong that the patient cannot even get out of bed. To relieve the condition, an injection of a pain medication that numbs the joint is usually required. After a few days, the symptoms disappear until the next attack. As the disease progresses, the patient's muscles and tendons atrophy, gait changes, and lameness appears.
  3. tuberculous arthritis. The disease is mainly formed in childhood due to the weakened immunity of the child. The disease develops slowly, so symptoms are not immediately noticeable. The child moves little, soon gets tired, his joint makes a clicking sound, one limb is shortened. As the disease progresses, the affected joint hurts a lot, while at some point the pain in the hip joint can be pulling or it can be sharp.
  4. bursitis. Bursitis is a condition where the bursa of the joint becomes inflamed. The main telltale symptom of the disease is a sharp pain spreading throughout the limb. At rest, the leg trembles, and when walking it hurts a lot.
  5. Tendinitis. That's how they call the inflammatory process in the tendons in medicine. The pain syndrome occurs with very strong physical exertion (for example, in professional athletes), and with moderate exertion, the pain may be completely absent.

Pathologies caused by infectious pathogens (influenza viruses, staphylococci, streptococci) provoke various types of pain in the hip area. It can be a pulling, dull or sharp pain, a burning sensation that worsens at night. The disease develops rapidly, the joint swells, the patient has a fever.

Also, the cause of pain in the hip joint can be a malignant neoplasm in the bones or muscles or hereditary diseases (for example, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease).


The patient's task is to find a doctor who will determine how to treat hip pain. Treatment tactics will depend on the diagnosed disease that caused this pain. Therefore, different types of therapy are used for different pathologies.

A variety of pathology

Since pain in the hip joint often occurs due to various injuries, in such cases it is logical to consult a traumatologist.

Sharp and severe hip pain can be caused by a hip fracture

Therapeutic measures for injuries:

  1. In case of dislocation, the doctor prescribes drugs to relieve muscle tone and restore it. The patient is then given rest. In the case of a pinched nerve (this indicates numbness in the leg), a consultation with a neurologist is imperative.
  2. For fractures of the neck of the femur, surgical intervention is used, since traditional methods are useless. If the patient has contraindications for surgery, then a plaster cast is applied to the entire limb. The recovery of the hip joint after such an injury takes many months, and in patients over 60 years of age, the femurs rarely fuse back.
  3. Congenital luxations in children are treated using orthopedic structures to fix the baby's legs in a natural anatomical position. The duration of treatment is about six months.

Treatment of other joint pathologies:

  1. In ankylosing spondylitis, an integrated approach to treatment is used. In this case, the treatment of pain in the hip joint includes drug therapy aimed at relieving inflammation: hormonal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, immunosuppressants. Taking medication is combined with physiotherapeutic manipulations, massage techniques and physical therapy. During the rehabilitation period, it is recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles, swimming is ideal for this.
  2. Reiter's disease treatment requires you to be patient as this process can take up to 4 months or more. It is treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs that suppress immune functions, topical ointments. For the entire treatment period, it is recommended to maintain muscle tone with stretching. In about 50% of cases, the disease recurs.
  3. Rheumatoid arthritis therapy is aimed at alleviating symptoms and improving the patient's quality of life, as it is currently impossible to completely cure this pathology. Medical prescriptions include taking hormonal drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-rheumatic drugs. If the disease has reached such a stage of development that the patient cannot even sit, then surgical treatment is used.
  4. Therapy for coxarthrosis involves removing the cause of the pain symptoms. In the initial stages, the disease is treated conservatively: the patient is prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, chondroprotectors, drugs to increase blood supply. The use of ointments with an analgesic and warming effect is also indicated. As additional measures, the patient is recommended a course of massage and therapeutic exercises. In the last stage of the disease, conservative methods do not help. As a rule, at this stage the patient is offered to do joint arthroplasty.

Infectious and inflammatory diseases

Treatment of infectious and inflammatory diseases of the hip joint has its own nuances. The treatment plan will depend on the type of pathology that caused the hip pain.

Possibilities for treatment of pathologies:

  1. In purulent arthritis, an intra-articular injection of an analgesic is used to numb the affected joint. Different groups of antibacterial drugs and antibiotics are used to fight infectious pathogens. The purulent contents are also removed, and the affected limb is immobilized with a plaster cast or splint.
  2. In aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, dead zones are formed due to lack of nutrition, so it is necessary to restore blood circulation in these places as soon as possible. You will need to take vitamins and medications that thin the blood. In case of persistent pain, local rubbing of anesthetic ointments and a course of massage are prescribed.
  3. Tuberculous arthritis in children is treated by limiting motor function by applying a tight bandage. If an abscess forms in the soft tissues, it is surgically removed.
  4. Bursitis is characterized by very severe pain, so therapy begins with mandatory anesthesia. For this, an intramuscular analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug is administered. Limbs should provide a comfortable resting state to relieve pain.

Pain in any of its manifestations is a harbinger of various serious diseases and should be a worrying factor. If you feel pain of any kind, it is advisable to see a doctor.