Why does my hip hurt?
Hip pain is common. It can sometimes be concerning if it is very sore, but it is rarely because of anything serious. Pain can be felt in the groin, inner or outer thigh, buttocks and can sometimes radiate down the leg. The hip is built to be very strong and is good at its job of holding your weight, walking and jumping. It is very difficult to damage.
Will I get better?
Most hip complaints will improve with time and some simple steps to help yourself. At times it might not feel that your hip can get better but very few people need any extra care than the steps below.
What can I do to help myself?
The best advice is to continue to use your hip as normally as you can. It may be sensible to make some adjustments to what you do with your hip whilst it is sore but it is important to know that using your hip is safe and the right thing to do.
What else can I do?
Exercise, particularly strengthening exercise, is the best medicine for most aches and pains including the hip, even very sore hips. Exercise can be anything that challenges your muscles and does not need to mean going to the gym or the swimming pool, as not everyone enjoys these things.
Being closer to your ideal body weight is likely to help your hip issue. Interestingly, it is often the process of getting fitter (eating ‘cleaner’ and being more active) that helps the waist line and can help sore hips feel better too!
But my hip is sore, should I really be using it and doing exercise?
Yes. You are safe to exercise and use your leg despite the fact that it might be a bit uncomfortable. Often, if you start avoiding things that you find difficult, it becomes more challenging to help your hip.
What about an x-ray or scan?
Interestingly, in most cases, having and x-ray or a scan is not useful in helping you hip get better. Of course, in certain situations they are important and necessary, but often the results will show you things that are meant to be there or normal for the age of your hip. That might mean that in a number of cases, what the x-ray shows is not really related to why your hip might be sore, which is why your GP or physio may have said that they might not be needed.
I still feel that I need some help.
If your hip pain is causing you issues that you feel you would like to discuss with someone, you can be referred to the physiotherapy service by your GP. Your local pharmacist will also be able to provide you with information regarding any appropriate use of over the counter medication.
Top exercise ideas
Here is a selection of exercises that are most useful for helping hip complaints. Click on the arrows to show the start and finish of each excercise.
Stand with a chair behind you. With your chest up, poke you bottom out and slowly (3-5 seconds) lower yourself down to the chair. Do NOT sit down. Rise up and repeat. Repeat 8-12 repetitions for 3-4 sets in total.