Hip problems

Hip problems can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • weakness

You don't normally need to see a healthcare professional. New onset or flare-up of a longstanding hip problem should begin to settle within 6 weeks.

What causes hip problems?

Hip problems can be caused by injury or normal wear and tear.

As you get older normal wear and tear can cause your hip problem to flare-up now and again, often for no reason.

Can this cause problems anywhere else?

You may feel some pain in the buttock, groin, back, thigh or knee. Men may feel some pain in their testicles.

Self-help

Keeping active is an essential part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.

Being physically active throughout your recovery can:

  • prevent a recurrence of the problem
  • maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
  • keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
  • help you aim for a healthy body weight

It's recommended you stay at or return to work as quickly as possible during your recovery. You don't need to be pain and symptom-free to return to work.

More about keeping active

Pain treatments

Pain medication can help to reduce the pain and help you move more comfortably, which can help your recovery.

Speak to your community pharmacist or other healthcare professional about taking medication or other methods of pain relief​. It's important to take medication regularly.

More about taking painkillers

Resting or moving?

Within the first 24 to 48 hours after your hip problem starts you should try to:

  • rest your hip but avoid long spells of not moving at all
  • move your hip gently for a short period every hour when you are awake

After 48 hours:

  • Try to slowly return to normal activity.
  • Do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work - this is important and is the best way to get better. You don't need to be pain or symptom-free to return to work.
  • When going upstairs, reduce the strain on your hip by leading with your good leg. If there's a handrail, use it.
  • When going downstairs, reduce the strain on your hip by leading with your problem leg - if there's a handrail, use it.

Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you've less discomfort and good movement. Remember to fully warm up before you start exercise.

When to speak to a health professional

Speak to your GP as soon as possible if:

  • there's been significant trauma - for example a fall from height or direct blow to the hip
  • you can't put any weight at all through your leg

If you've a lump in your groin region - this may be a hernia, please discuss this with your GP.

If you're male, and you feel pain or swelling around your testicles, please discuss this with your GP.

Help and support

If, after following the above advice, your hip problem hasn't improved within 6 weeks a referral to a physiotherapist may be of benefit.

If available in your health board area, the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Helpline can refer you to a healthcare professional if you need it.