Chronic hip pain, as with most other kinds of chronic pain, tends to affect women at a higher rate than men. It’s important to let your doctor know precisely where the discomfort is located as hip pain is often used to describe pain that is actually located in the buttocks, lower back, or upper thigh. True hip pain typically occurs immediately over the hip joint or in the groin.
The problem can have a variety of causes, and a proper diagnosis is key to controlling or relieving the issue. Here are some of the common causes of chronic hip pain.
In older patients and those with poor bone density, hip fractures can be responsible for the chronic pain in their hip. If this is the case, the pain will be most pronounced when standing on the affected leg and when lifting or stretching it out. Furthermore, a fractured hip can cause the toes on that side to turn outward.
Bursitis or Tendonitis
Inflammation in the tendons, known as tendonitis, can occur from overuse or injury. When tendonitis occurs in the hip, it most commonly affects the iliotibial band, which connects the outer edge of your hip bone to the outer edge of your knee. Bursitis may also cause chronic hip pain. On the outermost bony portion of the hip, there are special cushioning sacs known as bursae. Like with tendonitis, these can grow inflamed from injury or excessive use, resulting in hip pain whenever you move your leg.
Hernias that occur in the groin region, such as inguinal and femoral hernias, can result in pain in the front of the hip. These mainly occur in athletes, but pregnant women may develop them due to increased pressure in the abdomen.
If you’re struggling with chronic hip pain, you shouldn’t assume that it’s simply a joint or tendon issue. Certain gynecological problems can also cause hip pain, and some may be serious. For instance, endometriosis, a condition where endometrial tissue develops outside of the uterus, can result in pelvic pain. It can be easy to confuse this for pain originating in the hip.
Pain that originates in the spine may be felt in the hip and buttock region, a phenomenon known as “referred pain.” In addition, sciatica, wherein a nerve in the lower back becomes compressed or “pinched,” may cause aching sensations or shooting pain that is felt in the buttocks, hip, and upper leg.
It’s important that you don’t ignore hip pain or assume that it will go away on its own. The problem can be caused by something relatively benign, or it may be related to a more serious issue. If you’re struggling with chronic hip pain, it’s recommended that you see your doctor to determine the reason.