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What It Might Mean if You Have Hip Pain

What It Might Mean if You Have Hip Pain

Hip pain affects people of all ages, and it’s not uncommon. In fact, research shows that as many as 40% of active athletes have hip pain, as well as about 15% of people over age 60.

You rely on your hips for lots of activities, which is one reason why pain is so common. The joint is also more complex than you may realize, and a problem with any one of several components can wind up causing chronic discomfort.

James M. Lee Jr., MD, and our team at Orange Orthopaedic Associates in West Orange and Bayonne, New Jersey, have extensive experience treating hip pain. In this post, learn about eight potential causes of your chronic hip discomfort.


Arthritis is a group of degenerative joint diseases that cause the joint surfaces to break down and wear away. More common among older people and people who put a lot of strain on their hips (like athletes), arthritis causes painful inflammation that can lead to hip stiffness and eventual disability. 

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, but there are other types as well, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and septic arthritis.


A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac typically found near a joint. These sacs help cushion joints to prevent excess wear and support normal joint function. 

With bursitis, one or more bursae become irritated and inflamed. When bursitis develops in your hip, you can end up with a condition called greater trochanteric pain syndrome, along with aching symptoms that affect your hip and outer thigh.

Muscle strain

Muscle strains are common, and in most cases, the pain goes away with a few days of TLC. But if a severe strain causes the muscle to tear, you can wind up with long-term pain that doesn't get better without medical treatment.

Hip impingement

Hip impingement occurs when either the ball or socket portions of the hip joint (or both) are misshapen, preventing normal movement in the joint. Also called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), hip impingement can eventually lead to arthritis and permanent joint damage if it’s not promptly treated.


Tendons are fibrous bands of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones, and they play a big role in normal hip movement. If a tendon is stretched, inflamed, or torn, you can wind up with chronic hip pain that’s worse with movement. 

Sometimes, a tendon can develop tiny tears as a result of wear-and-tear. These tears can weaken the tendon, making it more prone to other injuries.

Labral tear

The labrum is a tough ring of cartilage located along the edge of the hip joint that helps hold the ball part of the joint inside the socket. A labral tear happens when this ring is damaged and hip support is disrupted. 

Labral tears can be the result of traumatic injuries, but often they happen after years of wear-and-tear on the hip joint.


Also called avascular necrosis, osteonecrosis develops when something interferes with the blood supply to your hip, drastically reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the joint. Eventually, the bone tissue in the joint begins to die, leaving you with increasingly severe aches and pains. 

A prior hip injury, hip surgery, or long-term use of corticosteroids can all increase your risk of osteonecrosis.

Non-hip issues

Sometimes, another medical problem can cause pain in your hips. Sciatica is a source of low back pain that frequently causes aches and pains in your hips. 

Knee and foot problems, issues involving your pelvic organs, and hernias are other possible causes. Dr. Lee performs a thorough exam and evaluation before confirming the cause of your symptoms.

Find out what’s causing your hip pain

Chronic hip pain is never normal. Having hip pain evaluated as soon as possible allows Dr. Lee to begin treatment that can help relieve pain, restore joint function, and prevent serious complications.

To learn more about what’s causing your hip pain, book an appointment online or over the phone at Orange Orthopaedic Associates today.

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