Painful Hips When Walking

By: Ehren Allen, DPT, Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

How do I Stop my Hip from Hurting when I Walk?

If you have hip pain when you walk, it is important to determine what is causing it. The hip joint itself can cause pain. Usually, hip pain from the hip joint causes pain in the front of the hip area and groin region.  It may also cause pain on the outside of the hip.  There are cases when hip problems can be noticed from pain in the knee. 

JOI Rehab can help if you have Painful Hips When WalkingPainful hips when walking

The low back can cause pain in the hips with walking too.  Arthritis and degenerative changes in the lumbar spine can refer pain to in the hips and buttocks region.  Some people have more pain with sitting, and some have more pain with standing and walking. 

In general, walking is very healthy for the hips.  Walking is a very efficient activity. When the hips are healthy, walking can help keep them healthy by stimulating and lubricating the joint surfaces. 

If there is a problem in the hip, walking can become a difficult task.  If there is arthritis in the hips, it may help ride a stationary bike for exercise at times. The stationary bike allows for the lubrication of the hip joints without placing body weight through them.

Weight loss can be helpful to decrease hip pain with walking.  Obesity is arguably the most serious health condition facing our society.  The excess body weight is transmitted through the hips with walking.  This can cause wear and tear and eventually lead to pain in the hips with walking.

If you would like to learn more about the anatomy of the hip, check out these videos.

What does it Feel like to have Arthritis in your Hip?

The quick answer is that pain is often in the groin but can cause pain in the buttocks.  Hip arthritis can cause painful hips when walking. The pain can be sharp with severe arthritis.  Hip arthritis can also cause a deep ache after activity.  Patients also may notice a loss of range of motion in the hip.  

Painful hips when walking and loss of range of motion in the hips may also cause a chain reaction of pain in surrounding joints. This may include the knee, sacroiliac joints, and low back.  Pain in the hip and lower back is a common combination of painful symptoms.

If the pain is on the outside of the hip, the problem may be bursitis.  If you would like to learn about hip bursitis, click this link on "What is bursitis?"

Painful Hips When WalkingPainful Hips When Walking

What are the First Signs of Hip Problems?

There are several signs or warnings that you may be developing a hip problem.  These signs may include:

  • Pain in the groin.
  • Catching in the hip.
  • Difficulty crossing the legs.
  • Difficulty reaching to put on socks or shoes.
  • Painful hips from walking.

If you have any of these issues, it may be a sign of a hip problem. 

What can you do for Painful Hips with Walking?

The quick answer, if you have painful hips when walking, may help change activity and decrease weight-bearing activity for a few days. Some people get relief from ice or heat, but the hip joint is very deep, and heat and ice may not penetrate all the way to the joint.  

NSAIDs such as Motrin or Aleve may be helpful, but it is important to speak with a physician before taking medication, even if it is sold over the counter.  

If hip pain with walking does not improve, it may be time to see the doctor. The doctor may order x-ray films and physical therapy for exercise for the hips. In more severe cases, there may be a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation and treatment.

If you have persistent hip pain with walking, the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute can help! JOI offers the latest treatment options from conservative physical therapy to advanced robotic surgical techniques.  

If you would like to make an appointment with a JOI Rehab Physical Therapist,  please call 904-858-7045. To read more about conservative treatment options without surgery, please read this ARTICLE.

Fracture Care 

JOI MD's and Rehabilitation are currently offering telemedicine services to all of our patients. Our physicians are also offering ASAP fracture care for those who would like to avoid the emergency room.

 To schedule an appointment with a JOI Hip Specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click below. 

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