Hip problems

Hip problems can cause a range of symptoms including pain, stiffness and weakness.

In many cases, new or flare-up of long-standing hip problems should begin to settle within 6 weeks without the need to see a healthcare professional.

When to seek help

Speak to a healthcare professional 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
  • you have a lump in your groin region as this may be a hernia
  • you feel pain or swelling around your testicles

What causes hip problems?

Hip problems can be caused by injury or normal age-related changes.

As you get older normal age-related changes 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.

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 can:

  • 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
  • prevent a recurrence of the problem
  • help you aim for a healthy body weight

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

Exercises to help with hip problems

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
  • lead with your good leg when going upstairs to reduce the strain on your hip
  • lead with your problem leg when going downstairs to reduce the strain on your hip
  • use a handrail (if available) when going up and downstairs

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

Work

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.

Help and support

If your hip problem hasn’t improved within 6 weeks of following this advice, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms.