Hip Pain

Causes of hip pain

Hip pain can be caused by injury, weather in the sporting arena, doing daily activities or with normal age-related changes.

The hip joint connects the lower extremities to the trunk of the upper body, and its primary function is to bear the body’s weight during both static (standing) and dynamic (walking and running) postures. This can mean 3-6 x your body weight going through the joint. Causes of hip pain include:

  • Direct trauma
  • Repetitive movement and overload
  • Recurring chronic hip pain

At our West London clinic, the top causes of hip pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Femoroacetabular impingement (Cam, Pincer)
  • Forcing hip range improvements
  • Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS), gluteal tendinopathy
  • Acute groin strain
  • Sports hernia

Symptoms of hip pain

Hip pain is often not localised to just the hip and you may experience pain in the:

Symptoms of hip pain can vary based on the underlying cause but may include:

  • Sharp or dull pain
  • Stiffness or reduced range of motion
  • Swelling or warmth
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Limping
  • Radiating pain to the back, thigh or knee.
  • Clicking or popping during movement
  • Difficulty lying on your side
  • Weakness

Treatment of hip pain

Treatment for hip pain starts with a comprehensive assessment to identify its root cause. Typical treatment approaches for hip pain include:

  • Optimal loading (walking aids such as crutches)
  • Mobility and strengthening exercises
  • Hands on therapy
  • Education
  • Exercise modification

Our team will help you understand your hip pain and provide you with a roadmap to recovery so that you can get back to enjoying the things that you love to do. The objective is to regain function, relieve pain, and prevent recurrent injuries.

Exercises for hip pain

Early-stage exercises for hip pain may involve low-grade strengthening exercises of the trunk and hip muscles which focus on:

  • Straight leg raises
  • Mobility under load  (internal and external hip rotation)
  • Squats
  • Deadlift variations
  • Symmetry of leg strength

After any hip problem, it’s important to get movement and strength back. This supports tissue healing and will help you get moving again. With mobility exercises for hip pain it is important that you:

  • Don’t force stretching
  • Listen to your body
  • Push to pain where you feel a stretch but not through pain
  • Stop if you experience hip pain that is increasing

You may not be able to return to your usual exercise levels immediately and improvements may be slow to start with. However, a gradual return to normal activities is the best way to get good short and long-term results after a hip problem.

When to see a physio for hip pain

If you experience hip pain it is recommended to seek a physiotherapist’s guidance as soon as symptoms emerge or following trauma.

Among adults who play sports, the incidence of chronic hip pain is 30-40%, among all adults over 60, the incidence of hip pain is 12-15%.

Early action can relieve pain, enhance mobility, and address underlying issues, thus helping to ward off persistent, chronic hip complaints.

What would physio for hip pain involve?

At our West London clinic if you are experiencing hip pain we would treat it with an exercise based approach. Treatment would focus on strengthening exercises in conjunction with hands-on treatment. Our focus would be on the trunk, leg and hip muscles. Physiotherapy will:

  • Enhance muscle function
  • Improve muscular and joint mobility
  • Improve hip joint stability
  • Reduce future injury risk
  • Relieve pain
  • Get you back to what you love doing and keep you doing it

Regular strength training promotes long-term health and mobility.


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Is it better to rest or exercise with hip pain?

Acute injuries or severe hip pain usually require rest and medical evaluation. For chronic or mild hip pain, specific exercises are more likely to help, but it’s crucial to consult a physiotherapist or doctor for personalised guidance.

What is the fastest way to relieve hip pain?

To relieve hip pain, rest is not always the answer and strengthening exercises may be more beneficial. Engaging in targeted exercises and strength training under a physiotherapist’s guidance can promote joint stability, mobility and muscle balance. Early intervention with appropriate strengthening exercises often accelerates recovery and relieves pain.

Should I stretch my hip if it hurts?

Not always. Strengthening exercises may be more beneficial. The classic approach of hip flexor stretches for hip pain does not always sit true. Current research indicates that strengthening exercises where you hold a load at a point that you feel a stretch are more beneficial than isolated stretching.

What will a physiotherapist do for hip pain?

A physiotherapist will assess the cause of your hip pain, prescribe tailored mobility and strengthening exercises, offer manual therapy techniques, provide education on pain management, advise on activity modifications to relieve pain, facilitate recovery and prevent recurrence.

What exercises can I do for acute hip pain?

Strengthening exercises for acute hip pain will focus on the trunk and hip muscles and may include:

  • Straight leg raises
  • Mobility under load  (internal and external hip rotation)
  • Hip abduction and adduction
  • Glute bridges

Prioritize controlled movements. Avoid stretches for hip pain such as hip flexor stretches where you experience hip pain that is increasing.

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