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Aching Hips: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

Aching hips or pain in hips can make you very much worried and can affect you at any point of time. There are various factors which can lead to the aching hips. The treatments for the pain in hip depend on the underlying causes of the hip pain. This current article of ours will give you a better idea on various causes of aching hips or the various medical conditions which may lead to pain in hips and ways to treat it conservatively.

Aching Hips

An Overview on Aching hips:

Aching hips or pain in hips can be caused by various factors. Some of the most common factors for hip ache include abnormalities of the nerves, skin, joints, bones, blood vessels and soft tissues of the hip. Apart from this, there are also various diseases that affect other joints in the body, which include arthritis which can be a reason for hip pain. Bone fractures also can result in aching hips. There are many more factors that cause hip pain, which we will be reading in a later part of our article.

It must be known that the treatments or the pain management for aching hips condition depend on the underlying causes of the pain in hips. We will study about the pain management for aching hips in the following array of our article.

Signs and Symptoms of Aching Hips:

Here let us talk about the most important signs and symptoms of the aching hips conditions.

  • There may be a feel of discomfort in your thigh, inside the hip joint, outside the hip joint, may be a discomfort feel in the groin, or buttocks etc. These discomforts may be caused due to any underlying medical condition.
  • Sometimes the pain from the back or groin of the body, can radiate to the hip and cause aching hips
  • The hip ache gets worse with physical activity.
  • There might be symptoms of reduced range of motion, along with the hip pain
  • Some individuals might grow a limp from the persistent aches and pain in hip

What Causes Aching Hips?

Following are some of the causes for aching hips:

  1. Medical conditions (will be discussed in the following section)
  2. Over activity or excessive exercise can cause hips to ache
  3. Excessive overweight puts additional pressure on hips and can cause aching hips.
  4. Improper shoes while running, walking etc can cause your hips to ache.
  5. Sleeping position and quality of mattress can also be a factor for aching hips at night.
  6. Aching hips after walking long distance can be either due to muscle injury, osteoarthritis, bursitis or tendonitis.
  7. Leg length discrepancy is also a common cause for aching hips.

Medical Conditions that can cause Aching Hips:

  1. Sciatica: Aching hips can be due to sciatica. The sciatica is a condition experienced when the sciatic nerve is irritated. This sciatic nerve is the nerve that begins at the spinal cord, stretching through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. In sciatica there is a weak and painful sensation in these areas.
  2. Broken Hips: A broken hip condition can cause severe hip pain. This condition is defined as a fracture in the upper thigh bone or the femur.1
  3. Sprains and Strains: Hips can ache if an individual suffers from hip sprain or hip strain.
  4. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis, also known as RA is an autoimmune disease which may cause the aching hip conditions. This is a disease where the body’s immune system mistakes the body’s own cells for invaders.
  5. Polymylgia Rheumatica: An inflammatory disorder known as Polymyagia rheumatica can cause hips to ache at times. This is a condition which causes pain in neck, hips, arms, shoulders and thighs.
  6. Hip Bursitis: Bursitis or an inflammation of the bursae or the fluid-filled sacs which helps to reduce friction, where the tendons, skin and muscle tissues meet bones.2 Person can experience hip ache and restricted movements of hip joint if he/she as sustained hip bursitis.
  7. Ankylosing Spondylitis: A form of arthritis known as Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition that primarily affects the spine and may cause aching hips.
  8. Hip Dislocation: A dislocation actually occurs when the bones connected at a joint are separated. When there is a dislocation at the hip joint, there may be aching pain in the hips.
  9. Fibromyalgia: One more medical condition which can lead to pain in hips is Fibromyalgia. This is actually a chronic disorder characterized by widespread, pain in the tender points in joints and muscles including head, neck and sides of the hips.
  10. Gout: Gout can also cause hips to ache but it not very common. This is a type of arthritis which is primarily caused by excessive uric acid in the blood.
  11. Tendinitis: There is another medical condition which can lead to aching hips. Tendinitis is the state when the tendons or the thick cords joining muscle to your bones, become irritated or inflamed. Here there is an acute pain which requires strict medical attention.
  12. Toxic Synovitis: Hip pain in children usually occurs due to a condition called synovitis.
  13. Reiter’s Syndrome: Hip ache can also be the result of an inflammation in Reiter’s syndrome, where there is swelling, pain and inflammation in the joints. Apart from aching hips, mouth ulcers, urethral discharge and painful urination are the symptoms of this Reiter’s syndrome.
  14. Arthritis: Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints in any part of the body. This condition is mostly common in adults, although it can grow in young children and teenagers even. Hip pain may be also due to arthritis.3
  15. Hernia: Hernia in the groin area, femoral and inguinal hernias can cause hips to ache. There may be frontal hip pain in women with hernia. There are chances of inguinal hernias in pregnant women because of the added pressure on the abdominal walls.

When to Seek Medical Help in Aching Hips:

“Every serious issue need a serious attention.” Here below let us study on the cases in aching hips where a medical attention is essential.

  • If the hip pain is not reduced even after one week of rest at home
  • In case the aching hips are accompanied by fever and rashes.
  • If the pain is in both the hips or if it has affected other joints as well.
  • In case the hip pain encountered you all of a sudden and you have sickle cell anemia.

Below are the cases where you need an emergency medical help is required:

  • In case the hip pain was caused by a serious accident or fall.
  • If you are unable to move your hip or if you are not able to bear any weight on your legs.
  • If your leg is deformed, or bleeding badly.

Treatments for Aching Hips:

Basically the treatments for aching hips depend on the diagnosis of the underlying causes for the hip pain. However, there are pain due to overuse or the sports injuries which needs to be treated with proper rest, heat and the OTC anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen. There are some particular pain management strategies for reducing or preventing aching hips at home, which will be discussed below.

Conservative Treatment for Aching Hips:

Make sure you follow the below tips at home for proper pain management of aching hips at home.

  • In case you are overweight, lose your weight so as to relieve some of the strain on your hip.
  • Avoid standing for long and wear flat and comfortable shoes.
  • Make sure you avoid activities that make the hip ache worse.
  • Muscle strengthening exercises are good for reducing hip ache. You can do the appropriate physiotherapies for aching hips by visiting an expert physiotherapist and following his advice at home
  • Pain killers like Ibuprofen, paracetamol etc. are effective at times to reduce hip ache.
  • There are symptoms of aching hips due to over activity. In such case, it is good to follow the below steps of pain management at home for reducing the pain in hips:
    1. Warm up before exercising and stretch afterwards.
    2. Reduce your exercises.
    3. In case you are running, make sure you do it on smooth surfaces.
    4. It is good to go for low impact exercises like cycling or swimming, instead of running.
    5. Make use of shoe inserts and make check for proper fitting of your running shoes.
    6. Use of proper orthotics to overcome leg length discrepancy.

So, above were some of the medical conditions leading to aching hips. Following the above listed pain management tips and taking the best care of yourself, you can prevent the hip pain going worse.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 19, 2022

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