Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

A man seeking relief for his hip pain.

A man seeking relief for his hip pain.
beginning of content

Hip pain

3-minute read

Pain in the hip is very common. Hip pain affects children and adults and can have a variety of different causes. If you have hip pain that persists, you should see a doctor or physiotherapist.

What is hip pain?

Hip pain is soreness or pain inside the hip joint. You may also feel pain in your:

The cause of hip pain will affect when and where you feel the soreness. Usually if the problem is with the hip itself you will feel pain inside your hip or your groin. If the pain is outside your hip, on the upper thigh or outer buttock, the cause will usually be problems with muscles, ligaments or tendons around the hip joint.

Sometimes pain from other areas can be felt in your hip - this is called ‘referred pain’. Pain in the hip can affect you when you:

  • walk up or down stairs
  • sit or stand for some time
  • exercise or play sport

What causes hip pain?

Conditions that cause hip pain include:

  • arthritis of the hip from a variety of causes - osteoarthritis is the most common, especially in people older than 50
  • an injury
  • lower back problems
  • a fracture of the neck (top) of the femur (thigh bone)
  • a strained muscle
  • an inflamed tendon or other inflammatory conditions
  • an infection
  • pinched nerves

What symptoms relate to hip pain?

If the pain is caused by osteoarthritis, other symptoms may include stiffness, tenderness if you push on the joint, a grating sensation in your joints, and muscle weakness.

A bone fracture may also have swelling, deformity, bruising or loss of function.

If the pain is caused by an infection, the area could be red, swollen and warm.

When should I see my doctor?

You should talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about your hip pain immediately if:

  • the pain is sudden or intense
  • the result of an injury or a fall
  • you can't move your hip or leg
  • you can't put weight on the affected leg
  • you notice swelling or bleeding
  • you notice any sign of an infection, like a fever

If your child has pain in the hip, talk to your doctor.

How is hip pain diagnosed?

A doctor or physiotherapist can work out what is causing the pain in your hip. They might talk to you and examine you, checking how you stand, how you walk and what movements cause pain. They may suggest blood tests or X-rays.

How is hip pain treated?

The treatment might include:

Your doctor may suggest you consult an orthopaedic surgeon if surgery or other specialist treatment is needed. You might find pain relief with home treatments such as rest, heat or ice, massage or gentle exercises for hip pain.

Can hip pain be prevented?

One of the best ways to reduce pain is to exercise. Low impact activities are best to protect the hips.

It’s important to talk to a doctor or physiotherapist first so they can tailor a program to the condition that is causing the hip pain.

Resources and support

Arthritis Australia has information about hip pain

MyJointPain.org.au provides support for people with osteoarthritis

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2020


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Perthes' disease | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is Perthes' disease? Perthes' disease is a disorder of the hip joint in children

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Perthes' disease - Better Health Channel

Most children with Perthes' disease eventually recover, but it can take anywhere from two to five years.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Osteoarthritis, explained - NPS MedicineWise

Knee pain, hip pain, aching joints: these common complaints can be caused by osteoarthritis. Find out how it can be managed.

Read more on NPS MedicineWise website

Hips — Arthritis Australia

The hip is commonly affected by arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis (OA)

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Visualisation - Musculoskeletal Australia (MSK)

Visualisation is a useful technique that uses the power of your mind to distract you from pain. Find out more and how MSK can help.

Read more on Musculoskeletal Australia website

Bursal Injection - InsideRadiology

A bursa is a soft tissue space between two structures, such as bone, muscle, tendon and skin, which allows the structures to slide over one another.

Read more on InsideRadiology website

Spastic Cerebral Palsy | Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. The muscles of people with spastic cerebral palsy feel stiff and their movements may look stiff and jerky. Spasticity...

Read more on Cerebral Palsy Alliance website

Sleep positioning systems | Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation

Read more on Cerebral Palsy Alliance website

Nuclear Medicine Bone Scan - InsideRadiology

InsideRadiology provides free and easily accessible, accurate, up to date and credible information about medical imaging tests and procedures.

Read more on InsideRadiology website

Pain Management | enableme - stroke recovery and support

Need to know more about the type of pain you might experience after your stroke and how can it be managed?

Read more on Stroke Foundation website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo