Why does the hip joint hurt: causes and consequences

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

The reasons

The causes of pain in the hip joint are very extensive. It can be injuries of various etiologies, systemic pathologies due to dysfunction of the immune system, past infections, joint diseases.

It should be noted that symptoms of inflammation of the hip joint are often detected in women over 50 years old due to poor absorption of calcium in the body and changes in cartilage tissue related toage.

The situation when the left or right hip joint periodically hurts should alert the patient. Timely diagnosis and correctly 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 it is later.

Traumatic causes

Injuries are the most common reason the hip joint loses its integrity. At risk are athletes subjected to heavy physical exertion, elderly people with fragile bones, in whom, due to age, the cartilage tissues do not have time to recover. Also, a similar injury can be obtained as a result of a car accident, an accident at work.

Traumatic causes of pain syndrome include:

  1. Congenital hip dislocation. It is formed as a result of a difficult childbirth or 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. Dislocation of the hip following an injury. During a dislocation, the head of the femur falls completely out of the acetabulum. Symptoms are sharp severe pain, inability to move a limb and sit down. The periarticular place swells, a bruise forms. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention.
  3. hip subluxation. Partial contact between the femoral head and the acetabulum is maintained. The victim feels moderate pain, has some movement restrictions, but the discomfort is present all the time.
  4. Femoral neck fracture. 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 violent blow. Immediately at the moment of injury, the victim feels a sharp, intense pain that increases when trying to move. The pain may also radiate to the inner thigh. Puffiness and hematomas are symptoms that appear locally on the hip area. The limb in which the fracture occurred is shortened, the patient limps, and the joint clicks when walking. Also, as a result of the injury, the nerve endings are pinched and the leg becomes numb.
  5. Hip injury. The pain syndrome is moderately pronounced, but becomes more intense with rapid movements. Symptoms disappear when the limb is at rest.

Treatment of such pathologies is carried out by a traumatologist.

Systemic diseases

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

Certain pathologies can cause various painful sensations in the femoral region:

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis. The pain is dull, worse at night. Most often located in the sacrum or pelvis, but can also be administered in the groin, knee, hips. When walking, the patient feels stiffness of movement. An inflammatory process is formed in the intra-articular space, so do not hesitate to consult a specialist.
  2. Reiter's syndrome. This is an autoimmune disease that occurs with infectious diseases of the intestine. 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 sharp pain and swelling in the femoral region, fever. Often the disease affects both joints.
  3. rheumatoid arthritis. This pathology consists of 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 region, there are unpleasant sensations when walking. An inflammatory process begins in the intra-articular space, which causes an increase in local and general body temperature. In addition, movements become constrained in any position, including at rest. As the disease progresses, left and right joints are affected, nerve fibers are pinched, and the legs become numb and lose feeling. In addition, the blood supply to the pelvic region is disturbed, which leads to tissue necrosis.

Degenerative changes

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

Symptoms of pain in the hip joint can be triggered by the following conditions:

  1. Epiphyseal varus deformity. It is common in adolescents during a period when the bones are developing intensively. The pain is dull, pulling in nature, becoming more intense during running or sports activities.
  2. osteoarthritis. Perhaps the most common disease of all joint conditions. It occurs with equal frequency in men and women. The essence of pathology is destructive changes in the joint. The disease in its development passes through several stages. In the early stages, the patient feels aching pain after a long walk, jogging, which subsides at rest. The second stage is characterized by increased pain during movement, lameness occurs, the joint clicks. At 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 complex.
  3. Arthritis of the hip joint. The disease inherent in the elderly is inflammation of the articular structures. In this case, the patient feels pain in the leg, in the inguinal region and even in the ankle. If the patient wants to get up from a sitting position, this attempt is accompanied by a sharp shooting pain.

Inflammation and infection

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

It is not always the damage to the bones themselves that is the reason why the hip joint starts to hurt. Inflammatory processes in the muscle tissue, tendons and periarticular bag can cause discomfort.

Variants of inflammatory diseases:

  1. Purulent arthritis. It is manifested by an increase in body temperature, redness of the skin in the affected joint area, severe swelling and sharp pain. All movements become unbearable, not to mention heavier loads. The disease is fraught with the development of sepsis, so treatment should be urgent.
  2. Femoral head necrosis. 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 intense sharp pain, burning in the affected area. The pain syndrome is so intense that the patient cannot even get out of bed. To relieve the condition, an injection of pain medication is usually needed to numb the joint. After a few days, the symptoms disappear until the next attack. With the progression of the disease, the patient's muscles and tendons atrophy, the gait will change, and lameness will appear.
  3. tuberculous arthritis. The disease is formed mainly in childhood due to the weakening of the child's immunity. The disease develops slowly, so symptoms are not immediately visible. The child moves a little, gets tired quite quickly, his joint rattles, and a limb is shortened. With the development of the disease, the affected joint hurts very badly, while at some point the pain in the hip joint can shoot or be sharp.
  4. Bursitis. Bursitis is a condition in which the articular sac of the joint becomes inflamed. The main symptom indicative of the disease is a sharp pain spreading throughout the limb. At rest, the leg is shaking, and when walking, it hurts a lot.
  5. Tendonitis. So, in medicine they call the inflammatory process in the tendons. Pain syndrome occurs during very intense physical exertion (for example, in professional athletes), and during moderate exertion pain may be completely absent.

Pathologies caused by infectious pathogens (influenza virus, staphylococci, streptococci) cause various types of pain in the hip area. It can be tightness, dull or sharp pains, a burning sensation that gets worse at night. The disease develops at a rapid pace, the joint swells, the patient has a fever.

Also, the cause of pain in the hip area can be malignant bone or muscle tumors or hereditary diseases (for example, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease).


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

Variety of pathology

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

Sharp and severe pain in the hip joint can be caused by a hip fracture

Therapeutic measures for injuries:

  1. In the case of dislocations, the doctor prescribes drugs to relieve muscle tone and roll it back. The patient is then put to rest. In case of a pinched nerve (this results in numbness of the leg), it is imperative to consult a neurologist.
  2. For fractures of the femoral neck, surgical intervention is used, since traditional methods are useless. If the patient has contraindications to surgery, a cast is applied to the entire limb. Recovery of the hip joint after such an injury takes several months, and in patients over 60, the femurs rarely fuse together.
  3. Congenital dislocations 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. With 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, anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive agents. Taking medication is combined with physiotherapeutic manipulations, massage techniques and physiotherapy exercises. During the rehabilitation period, it is recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles, swimming is ideal for this.
  2. For the treatment of Reiter's disease, you must be patient, as this process can take up to 4 months or more. It is treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, drugs that suppress immune functions, topical ointments. Throughout the treatment, it is recommended to maintain muscle tone with stretching. In about 50% of cases, the disease recurs.
  3. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is aimed at relieving symptoms and improving the patient's quality of life, since it is currently impossible to completely cure this pathology. Medical prescriptions include taking hormonal drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antirheumatic drugs. If the disease has reached such a stage of development that the patient cannot even sit down, then surgical treatment is used.
  4. The treatment of coxarthrosis consists in getting rid of the cause of the pain symptoms. At the initial stages, the disease is treated conservatively: the patient is prescribed nonsteroidal 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 to undergo a course of massage and therapeutic exercises. At 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

The 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 pain in the hip joint.

Treatment options for pathologies:

  1. In purulent arthritis, an intra-articular injection with an analgesic is used to anesthetize the affected joint. Various groups of antibacterial drugs and antibiotics are used to combat infectious pathogens. Purulent contents are also removed and the diseased limb is put to rest with a cast or splint.
  2. With aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, dead zones are formed due to a lack of nutrition, therefore 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 aching 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 intense pain. Treatment therefore begins with mandatory pain relief. For this, an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory are administered intramuscularly. The extremities should provide a comfortable state of rest to relieve aching pain.

Pain in any of its manifestations is a precursor to various serious diseases and should be an alarming factor. If you experience pain of any kind, it is recommended that you seek medical attention.