Why Do My Hips Hurt: Common Causes and Treatments

If you’re asking yourself, “Why do my hips hurt?”, you’re not alone. The hip joint is the largest ball and socket joint in the human body and since we humans get around with our legs, the hip joints see their fair share of activity. The hip joints are dependably durable, though as we age, the wear and tear of time can leave us dealing with uncomfortable hip pain.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. If you’ve been wondering “why do my hips hurt”, then you’re in the right place. Let’s talk some more about that trusty hip joint and investigate some potential causes of hip pain as well as their treatments.

The Hip Joint

As mentioned above, the hip joint is the human body’s largest ball and socket joint. Located on either side of the pelvis, the hip joint does the hard work of stabilizing the body to allow for motion and weight bearing. The socket, or acetabulum, is a cavity in the pelvis, and the ball is the head of the thigh bone, or more medically speaking, the femur.

The socket is lined with cartilage, known as the labrum, which is responsible for a great deal of the hip joint’s functionality. Joint stability, shock absorption, joint lubrication, distribution of pressure, and the limiting of bone on bone friction are its main functions. 

The hip joint is as stable as it is not only because of the labrum but also because of the support of its three major ligaments. Ligaments attach bone to bone, and the hip joint’s ligaments are named after the bones they connect — Iliofemoral, Pubofemoral, and Ischiofemoral. These ligaments form an envelope around the joint, known as the joint capsule, and are essential to the joint’s stability.

Oftentimes the answer to the question, “Why do my hips hurt”, is an injury to or disease of the hip joint’s labrum or ligaments. Let’s have a closer look.

Common Causes of Hip Pain

With all the components contributing to the hip joint’s stability, an issue with just one of them can cause unpleasant hip pain. It’s easy to overlook how incredible this joint is when it’s functioning as it should. As time takes its toll, however, the discomfort of hip pain is hard to ignore. 

This discomfort can present as pain in the thigh, groin, buttocks, and in and around the joint. To help you understand the numerous causes of hip pain, here are some of the most common.

  • Arthritis. This is the breakdown of the hip tissue that leads to inflammation and pain. There are three common types of arthritis that affect the hip joint: osteoarthritis (from wear and tear), rheumatoid arthritis (from disease), and traumatic arthritis (from injury). 
  • Bursitis. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac in the joint that helps to reduce friction between the bones. There are two major bursae of the hip that, when they become inflamed, can cause hip pain.
  • Avascular Necrosis. When the bones around your hip joint suffer from a decrease in blood supply, bone loss can occur. This process can be the cause of injury or the presence of a tumor, and can ultimately lead to the breakdown of the hip joint.
  • Hip Pointer. The ilium is the top of the pelvis you can feel with your hands just below the waist. When the muscles attached to the ilium become bruised or torn, you can experience hip pain. This is often caused by a blow to the hip, by falling, or by an awkward twist.

Common Treatments for Hip Pain

Treatments for hip pain hurt vary depending on the cause. To get to the bottom of your question, “why do my hips hurt”, your doctor will assess your hip pain and elect for the least intrusive treatments. Over-the-counter medications can help reduce inflammation and the pain it causes. Similarly for muscle strains, tears, and bruises, over-the-counter medication coupled with proper rest can relieve pain.

For more serious cases of bone, tissue, and joint damage, surgery may be an option. These surgeries may be minor for certain tissue repairs, or more comprehensive for hip replacement. Without a thorough assessment from your doctor, however, it’s best not to jump to this conclusion. Talk to your doctor so they can prescribe the best treatment for your hip pain.

Wondering, “Why do My Hips Hurt?” OCR Can Help.

Our team of hip specialists at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies are skilled experts in the causes of and treatments for hip pain. We know how cumbersome hip pain can be, and our goal is to get your hips back in tip-top shape.

You don’t have to live with hip pain in constant wonder of “why do my hips hurt?”. Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, and let’s get those hips working as they should.

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