The 6 Most Common Causes of Hip Pain in Women

The hip joint is designed to withstand a fair amount of wear, tear and repetitive motion, but it isn’t indestructible. With age and use the cartilage can become damaged or worn and muscles and tendons can get tired. The hipbone itself can be fractured upon injury, and any of these conditions can lead to hip pain.

Hip pain can result in discomfort in the thigh, groin, buttocks, and both inside and outside the hip joint. You may notice pain worsening during or after certain activities, or you might find you have a reduced range of motion. You may even notice that you’re developing a limp as you subconsciously adjust the way you move in an attempt to minimise pain.

Hip pain is not pleasant, but if you know what might be causing it you have a better chance of easing your discomfort. So what exactly causes hip pain in women and how can you use this knowledge to assist treatment? Let’s take a look…

1. Arthritis

Generally thought of as a single disease, the term “arthritis” covers more than 100 different medical conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, in particular joints where two or more bones meet. Problems that stem from arthritis include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damaged joint cartilage.

Arthritis is so common that it’s the leading cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia, with almost 3.85 million Australians suffering from the condition. And this number will only continue to increase with Australia’s ageing population.

Common arthritis-related hip problems include:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA): The most common form of hip arthritis, osteoporosis is characterised by the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. It often manifests as pain in the groin area and the front of the thigh.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): A chronic inflammatory disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis results when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thin membrane that lines the joints. Left untreated, RA may lead to hip joint damage, loss of function and disability.
  • Lupus: A chronic autoimmune disease, Lupus creates antibodies that attack and damage healthy tissue causing inflammation of the joints as well as the skin, heart, kidney and lungs.

For some great natural remedies to alleviate arthritis, check out our recent blog post on How Diet Can Help With Arthritis.

2. Hip Fracture

The most common cause of hip fractures is a fall or direct blow to the hip. The older you are, the more exposed you are to the risk of hip fracture. The extent of a hip fracture (a break in the upper quarter of the femur bone) will depend on the circumstances leading to the injury.

Hip fractures cause pain around groin or upper thigh region and create significant discomfort when the hip is being flexed or rotated. If a fracture is severe, it can cause the injured leg to appear shorter than the other.

3. Hernia

A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in its place. Femoral hernias (when fatty tissue or part of your bowel pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh) can cause significant discomfort on the hip. You may notice pain worsening when standing, lifting heavy objects, or straining.

Moderate to large-sized femoral hernias require surgery, performed under general anaesthetic as either an open or laparoscopic surgery. In both surgeries your surgeon will make incisions in your groin area to access the hernia.

4. Tendonitis

Several tendons connect the hip joint and muscles and regular rigorous or strenuous workout regimes can cause inflammation in these tendons. If you’re young, fit and healthy but suffer hip pain, this could be the cause. In fact, athletes commonly suffer hip pain as a result of running or cycling long distances. Gluteal tendinopathy is the most common hip tendonitis and is the result of tiny tears caused over time.

To treat tendonitis you need to rest the painful area and avoid any activity that makes the pain worse. Apply ice regularly and perform gentle range-of-motion exercises to prevent stiffness.

5. Bursitis

A bursa is a sac-like structure filled with a thick gel and is generally found between a joint and its overlying tissue. It functions by reducing friction as muscles and tendons cross over during movement but if irritated it can cause bursitis, a painful condition that affects the joints. In the hip joint this is known as trochanteric bursitis.

Trochanteric bursitis can affect anyone but is most common in middle-aged or elderly women. Treatment will depend on severity but can be as simple as protecting the area with padding, icing and resting the joints.

6. Obesity

Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer hip pain than those at a healthy weight. Excess weight puts pressure on the hips and pain can follow. In fact, excess weight is one of the leading causes of hip pain in women.

The link between hip pain and excess weight is clear, and even if your hip pain is directly caused by something else, losing any excess weight you might have will improve overall health and reduce strain on the injury. Losing weight may help alleviate pain, reduce the need for surgery or make any necessary surgery safer and easier to perform.

Hip pain relief

If your hip pain is the result of arthritis, muscle or tendon strain, bursitis or tendonitis, Herron Blue Ibuprofen is a great choice for effective and temporary relief. These conditions cause prostaglandins to be released into the body, which make nearby nerves sensitive to pain. This pain is important to help your body realise that something is wrong, but once you are aware of your condition and are seeking treatment, there’s no need to continue suffering. Because ibuprofen blocks the production of prostaglandins, you become less sensitive to pain and inflammation and can relax, put your feet up and nurse your hip back to health in comfort.

It’s always a good idea to seek medical advice when experiencing hip pain, particularly if pain persists or worsens over time.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. For the temporary relief of pain and fever. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.

All information presented on the Herron website is meant for general knowledge and never meant as a diagnosis of prescription. Please always contact your doctor for health related matters.