Skip to main content

When to See a Specialist for Your Hip Pain

Roughly 10% of women and men suffer from chronic hip pain, with symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating. Like other joint issues, hip pain tends to increase with age, but early diagnosis and treatment can reduce symptoms and help you stay mobile and active.

At Orange Orthopaedic Associates, board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon James M. Lee Jr., MD, and our team focus on patient-centered treatment for hip pain.

Dr. Lee uses advanced diagnostics to identify the root cause of symptoms and support targeted therapy. In this post, we offer a brief overview of hip anatomy along with a review of some of the common causes of pain, so you can decide when it’s time to seek treatment.

Hip anatomy 101

Your hip is a large ball-and-socket joint that forms where your thighbone (femur) meets your pelvis. The ball-shaped head of the femur rests inside a cup-shaped socket called the acetabulum.  A protective layer of rubbery cartilage covers both the ball and the socket.

Ball-and-socket joints support a wide range of motion, including backward-and-forward movement and rotation. Your hips help you walk and move, while also keeping your body stable and supported during all sorts of activities — even when standing still or sitting.

Strong bands of tissue called ligaments hold the hip joint together. These ligaments stabilize the joint while helping your hip move and function normally.

Why your hips hurt

Lots of issues can cause hip pain, including simple things like overexertion and more complex issues like ligament injuries. 


Bursae are tiny fluid-filled sacs that help your hip joints move normally. If these sacs get inflamed or infected (a condition called bursitis), you can wind up with chronic hip pain.


Arthritis is a group of degenerative joint diseases that cause the joint surface to break down over time. As the disease progresses, inflammation occurs inside the joint, leading to chronic pain and stiffness.


Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated where it leaves your spine. Branches of the nerve travel down each leg, causing chronic hip pain and aching.


Literally “porous bone,” osteoporosis develops when bone density is lost, usually due to hormone changes associated with older age. Osteoporosis makes you more prone to fractures.


Hip impingement is a condition in which the ball and socket parts of the joint don’t fit together properly, sometimes due to tiny bone spurs that form along the joint edge. When you move your hip, the bones pinch together, causing chronic pain.


This is a dangerous condition that occurs when the blood supply to your bone is cut off, resulting in bone death.

Sometimes, you can have hip pain that actually starts somewhere else in your body, a condition called referred pain.

Treating hip pain: When to seek medical help

Minor acute hip pain is often the result of overexertion, like a day of intense or strenuous physical activity. This type of pain usually responds well to home remedies and TLC, like:

You can try some gentle stretching, but don’t overdo it. Give your hip time to recover on its own.

On the other hand, you should definitely call our office if your hip pain:

If you have hip pain following an accident or your hip joint looks deformed, head to the emergency room or call 911 to get checked for hip fractures or dislocation, two conditions that require emergency care.

People with chronic or persistent hip pain often benefit from conservative treatments. Dr. Lee may recommend physical or occupational therapy, weight management, or other lifestyle changes, sometimes accompanied by prescription medication or injection therapy.

For more severe symptoms associated with hip joint diseases like arthritis, Dr. Lee may recommend hip surgery to replace the joint or repair the joint components or surface. 

Find relief for chronic hip pain

Like a lot of joint pain, hip pain is often mild initially, but without medical treatment, it can quickly become worse. Prompt medical care is the key to preventing chronic pain that can take a toll on your quality of life and your overall wellness.

To learn what’s causing your hip pain and how we can help, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Lee and our team at Orange Orthopaedic Associates in West Orange and Bayonne, New Jersey, today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

4 Treatment Options for Shoulder Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a serious medical condition that happens when a bone doesn’t get ample blood supply. When it affects your shoulder, it can take a big toll on your quality of life. Here’s how we can help.
My Hip Hurts and Wakes Me Up in The Night

My Hip Hurts and Wakes Me Up in The Night

Morning hip pain can definitely take a toll on you all day long. Understanding the cause of your symptoms is the first step in learning how to prevent it. These tips can help.