Understanding Hip Pain: Causes and Treatments

Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

Medically reviewed by Dr. James Tan

Hip pain is a frustrating condition that can affect anyone at any time. From professional athletes to office workers, anyone can suffer from this debilitating ailment. A wide range of conditions can leave you feeling exhausted and aching all day long. To understand what is causing your pain, you need to take a closer look at what might be going on. 

For a complete overview of the common causes of hip pain, their symptoms, risk factors, and potential solutions, let’s hear what the experts have to say. 

Here is your complete guide to the stepmom, risk facts, and treatments for your hips. 

Hip Anatomy & How Your Hips Works

Your hip is a remarkable and surprisingly complex joint. It connects your torso to your lower body. It’s a ball-and-socket joint, which in this case means that there is a rounded head on your femur (thigh bone) that fits into the cup-like acetabulum (hip socket) of your pelvis. 

Your hip joint is what gives you a wide range of motion. It is this joint that allows you to walk, run, jump, and even make intricate moves. Your hip socket is a meeting point for a complicated collection of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. 

Your hip joint is supported by an elaborate network of tissues. The muscles of your hip offer stability and mobility to your body. Meanwhile, the ligaments and tendons connect your bones to your muscles to create a smooth sense of movement. Your hips are incredibly versatile in the way that they can move and are truly foundational in your day-to-day activities, whether that’s walking to the car or competing in the Olympics.  

Managing Hip Pain

Given the complexity of your hip and how central it is to your daily activities, hip pain can be truly debilitating. Whether you are talking about injuries, overuse, or degenerative conditions like arthritis, pain in the hip can have a major impact on your life. When your hip hurts, your mobility and overall well-being can be seriously impacted. 

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To manage hip pain, it’s essential to understand the structure and mechanics of your hip joint. When hip pain strikes, you’ll want to know how to manage pain and prevent it from coming back. Here are 3 tips on how you can overcome hip pain.

  • Understand the source: Identifying the root cause is crucial for effective treatment.
  • Manage the pain: Apply ice or heat, do gentle stretches and avoid activities that can worsen the pain.
  • Seek medical attention: Ask your medical professional for treatment options such as rest, physical therapy, medication, injections or surgery.

You might also be interested in our knee pain treatment page.

Common Causes of Hip Pain & How To Treat It 

To manage and prevent hip pain, an effective way to get started is to look at what causes hip pain and how you can manage it. To figure out why your hip hurts and what you can do about it, keep reading here. 

Osteoarthritis in Hips

Hip osteoarthritis is a common condition. This degenerative joint disease can affect any joint and it is especially common in the hip joint. The protective cartilage that cushions your bones wears down over time and the bones of your hip can rub against each other. This rubbing of your bones may lead to hip joint pain, stiffness, and difficulty getting around. 

Hip osteoarthritis is increasingly common as you get older but it can happen anytime to anyone. Osteoarthritis in your hips can be caused by repetitive stress or prior injuries. Depending on your medical background, it can come on at any age. 

Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include the following:

  • Pain that gets worse when you move
  • Feeling stiffness after rest
  • Limited range of motion
  • Grating sensation in your hip joint
  • Swelling around your hip joint

Hip Osteoarthritis Risk Factors

While hip osteoarthritis can affect anyone, there are a few factors that increase your likelihood of dealing with hip pain:

  • Age
  • Genetic predisposition 
  • Having had a joint injury
  • Being obese 
  • Being an athlete 

Hip Osteoarthritis Treatment Options 

If you suspect you have osteoarthritis in your hip, the first step is to get it checked out by a healthcare professional. Once you have an official diagnosis and have excluded other possible causes of hip pain, your doctor will give you a range of treatment options, such as the following:

  • Physical therapy improves your joint function by strengthening the muscles surrounding your hip 
  • Pain management with over-the-counter or prescription medications
  • Assistive devices like a cane or brace
  • Weight loss solutions to help reduce stress on your hip joint
  • Hip replacement surgery (in severe cases)

Hip Bursitis

You can develop bursitis in your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, heels, and ankles. This painful condition happens when the bursae (small fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints to reduce friction) become inflamed. This can be caused by repetitive movements or excess pressure. Bone spurs can be caused by similar instances.

Hip Bursitis Symptoms

To help you decide if you’re dealing with hip bursitis, look for some of the following symptoms: 

  • Pain on the outer side of your hip
  • Discomfort that gets worse when lying on one particular side
  • Swelling and tenderness in your hips

Hip Bursitis Risk Factors

There are a few key risk factors that we often see, such as: 

  • Athletes who put a lot of straining on their hip joint
  • Bad posture
  • Imbalances in your muscle 
  • Previous injuries to your hips 

Hip Bursitis Treatment Options 

If you are diagnosed with hip bursitis, your doctor will offer you some of the following options: 

  • Rest 
  • A change in routine 
  • Ice packs
  • Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections 
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy

Hip Tendonitis

Tendonitis is a common cause of pain in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. It happens when the tendons connecting your muscles to your bones get inflamed. When the tendons connect your hip muscles to your pelvis or femur bone, this painful condition can take over.

Hip Tendonitis Symptoms

When you’re dealing with tendonitis, you’ll have a few telltale symptoms including the following:

  • Pain in the front of your hip or around your groin area
  • Aches that get worse when you move your hips
  • Stiffness in your hips 
  • Having a limited range of motion

Hip Tendonitis Risk Factors

There are a few things that make you more susceptible to hip tendonitis, such as: 

  • Work or sports that require repetitive motions such as deadlifts and squats
  • Sudden increase in physical activity
  • Muscle imbalance

Hip Tendonitis Treatment Options 

To improve the symptoms of Hip Tendonitis, your doctor will recommend solutions like:

  • Avoiding activities that stress your hips
  • Physical therapy 
  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter or prescription medications
  • Corticosteroid injections 

Learn more about RICE therapy in this article.

Hip Labral Tears

In your hip joint, you have a ring of cartilage that keeps you stable and offers cushing to your joint. You can tear this cartilage during an accident or through repetitive motions.

Hip Labral Tears Symptoms

The only way to know if you have a hip labral tear is to have your doctor examine your hip. Here are a few signs that you should see a doctor: 

  • A clicking or catching sensation in your hip
  • Pain in your groin or hips
  • A limited range of motion
  • Instability in your hip joint
Hip Labral Tears Risk Factors 

There are a few things that can cause a hip labral tear, such as:

  • Abnormalities in your hip 
  • Repetitive hip movements
  • Injuries from sudden trauma 
Hip Labral Tears Treatment Options 

If you have a tear in your hip, you’ll have a few treatment options, including the following: 

  • Physical therapy 
  • Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter or prescription  medications
  • Arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove the torn labrum
  • Rehabilitation to strengthen your hip muscles and improve joint mechanics

You can also check out this video below for exercises to relieve Hip Labral Tears.

Hip Fractures

Hip fractures are often extremely painful and require immediate medical attention. In most cases, these fractures are often linked to osteoporosis and are most common in older adults. While these fractures usually happen in weakened bones, they can also be caused by traumatic events in younger people.

Hip Fractures Symptoms

You will usually feel a hip fracture as soon as it happens. Here are a few symptoms to watch for:

  • Intense pain in your hip or groin
  • Inability to bear weight 
  • Swelling and bruising around your hip

These symptoms are the same for other parts of your body, such as wrist fractures and it is recommended to seek treatment for wrist injuries as soon as possible.

Hip Fractures Risk Factors

Anyone can fracture their hip but certain things such as the following make it more like: 

  • Osteoporosis or weakened bones
  • Falls or traumatic accidents

Hip Fracture Treatment Options

A fracture in your hip requires quick treatment, with oslo such as the following: 

  • Surgery to repair the fracture via pins, screws, or plates
  • Rehabilitation to boost your strength and increase your mobility
  • Osteoporosis treatment to prevent future fractures

Hip Muscle Strains

You can get muscle strains in your hip area when you overstretch or tear your muscles or tendons. Always warm up before heavy muscle work and do not overexert yourself to prevent muscle fatigue.

Hip Muscle Strain Symptoms

There are a few telltale symptoms of a strain in your hip, like the following: 

  • Pain in your hip or groin 
  • Swelling and tenderness in your hips
  • A limited range of motion

Hip Muscle Strain Risk Factors 

In most cases, hip muscle strains are caused by one of the following:

  • Sudden movements
  • Not warming up before exercise 
  • Muscle imbalances

Warming up can not only prevent hip muscle pain and strain but also muscle cramps and other sports injuries.

Hip Muscle Strain Treatment Options

If you have a strain in your hip, your doctor may recommend a treatment routine including the following: 

  • Rest and avoid stressing your hip 
  • Use ice packs to reduce inflammation
  • Follow a gentle stretch routine 
  • Do regular rehabilitation exercises
  • Gradual return to your routine 

Hip Impingement

Hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), happens when you have contact between the bones of your hip joint. This is often caused by irregularities in the shape of the bones rather than an injury or overuse, though both are possible. 

Hip Impingement Symptoms

When you are dealing with a hip impingement, you will likely notice a few key symptoms: 

  • Pain in your groin or hip area, especially while moving
  • Hip stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion

Hip Impingement Risk Factors

Hip improvements have a couple of key causes:

  • Structural abnormalities in your joint
  • Overuse or repetitive hip motions

Hip Impingement Treatment Options

If you have a hip impingement, there are a few treatments that your doctor may recommend, such as: 

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Surgery to reshape the hip bones and fix the impingement
  • Rehabilitation to boost mobility and function

While most people prefer physiotherapy to orthopaedic surgery, it is still a quicker way to recover to prevent long-term effects like hip osteoarthritis.

Getting Help for Hip Pain in Singapore 

Hip pain can come from a wide variety of causes. Each one has its unique symptoms, risk factors, and treatment approaches. Getting a proper diagnosis and managing the condition is crucial to prevent complications and maintain your quality of life. 

If you are experiencing hip pain, it is essential to consult an orthopaedic doctor by contacting Ray of Health to get started on personalised treatment options. Whether it’s osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, labral tears, fractures, lower back pain, or hip impingement, don’t delay.

Ray of Health also offers comprehensive treatment plans for shoulder dislocation as well as meniscus tear treatment.

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About The Author

dr james tan

Dr James Tan Chung Hui

Dr James Tan is a skilled orthopaedic surgeon at Quantum Orthopaedics who has more than 10 years of experience in sports surgery and exercise medicine in Singapore. Apart from partnering with the industry to introduce various treatment techniques, Dr Tan has treated athletes from the Singapore National Teams and professional footballers from the Singapore Premier League and the Young Lions.

Dr Tan specialises in treating sports injuries of the knee, shoulder and elbow joints, as well as cartilage and meniscus surgery. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.

Qualifications and Achievements
MBBS - National University of Singapore (NUS), Faculty of Medicine
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS)
MMed - Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery (NUS)
Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh)
Adjunct Assistant Professor | NUS, LKC
Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports and Exercise Medicine
Head of Department | Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Centre
Principal Investigator of Tissue Engineering
National Medical Research Council grants
Collaboration with Scientists at NTU, TUM, A*Star, Osteopore & Trendlines Medical Singapore


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